Payment protection for Canadian produce growers

Farm graphicEssex is home to many family farmers and fresh fruit and vegetable producers who depend on the ability to export their produce to U.S. buyers.

But in 2014, the United States revoked Canada’s preferential status under PACA, the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, because the Conservative government failed to implement a similar system here in Canada.

Canadian produce sellers who want to recover a lost payment in the U.S. must now post a bond equivalent to double the amount they are trying to recover. These costs are especially crippling for family farmers.

Moving forward

I have tabled the following motion in the House of Commons and urge the government to take immediate action:

M-49 — March 8, 2016 — Ms. Ramsey (Essex) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) introduce a payment protection program for produce growers like the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) in the United States that will allow sellers to maintain an ownership trust until payment has been received; (b) implement this payment protection program for produce growers by September 30, 2016; (c) take immediate steps to negotiate with the United States to restore Canada’s privileged access under PACA, with the aim of restoring access by December 31, 2016.

Voices for action

"The Windsor Essex Chamber appreciates MP Tracey Ramsey’s leadership on getting PACA on the national agenda. It’s a top issue for agri-food exporters in the Windsor-Essex region and is key for us to maintain our goal of doubling agri-food exports by 2020."

- Matt Marchand, President and CEO Windsor Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce

"Ensuring that growers are paid for the product they grow is a fundamental requirement for sustainable communities. Currently our produce farmers do not have that protection in the marketplace and we look forward to having this issue addressed."

- George Gilvesy, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers

"The produce industry is united in its need for the creation of a limited statutory deemed trust which provides a no-cost solution and the most effective means to ensure fair protection for produce sellers in Canada.Payment protection for produce sellers is critical for the future of the fresh fruit and vegetable industry in Canada. Resolving this issue would not only give fair protection to produce sellers here in Canada, but return us to a level playing field for our fruit and vegetable exporters selling to the U.S., our largest market. It will ensure a strong produce industry that can continue to provide fresh, healthy food for Canadians."

- Ron Lemaire, President, CPMA (Canadian Produce Marketing Association)