Throughout the 40 years of the organization’s existence, producers have been confronted with a number of challenges, and thanks to the unity of all Quebec producers and the 10 provinces, we have been able to implement promising solutions for the entire industry. Whether we are talking about pooling revenue or sharing markets, over the years, producers have agreed to share the risks in favour of a Canadian dairy policy that ensures equity and predictability. This work between the provinces has not been without challenges. Due to processing-related structures, the history of production, and policies and powers that vary from one province to another, we have had to make compromises and come up with a common vision to move forward. As part of the work between the 10 boards, certain changes have to be accepted for the benefit of supply management and a strong collective marketing system.
The provinces worked together in a concerted manner with the entire industry to adopt the National Market Growth Program last July. The goal of this program is to stimulate and support the development of processing projects designed to reduce the structural surplus of solids non-fat and promote market growth. Although there are still some features that need to be finalized before the program can be launched, its adoption across the nation is nevertheless a historic moment for the industry. The foundation that has been laid by the 10 provinces will help ensure the sustainability of our industry. This singular
initiative by dairy producers must complement the governments’ actions. The federal government’s $333 million investment fund is a step in the right direction, but all levels of government will need to contribute as well.
The provinces also agreed to review the policy on sharing market growth by January 2024. Since 2002, 10% of processing market growth has been shared based on market history and 90% based on population share. This policy concerns sustainability issues. A fair distribution of growth between producers will set all Canadian producers on equal footing. Since all revenue has been pooled between producers since June 2020, the next steps were to share markets and transportation costs.
As you can see, the 10 Canadian organizations are busy working on the future of the industry. This work is aimed at strengthening Canada’s dairy policy and the industry’s sustainability. But producers cannot make these efforts without government support. Canada’s dairy policy, which benefits society as a whole, is based on laws, regulations and interprovincial agreements that will continuously evolve to keep in step with the new business environment. Just as producers are creating bold tools to help the sector, the government needs to see the bigger picture and support the sector’s development.
Several steps still need to be taken before we see the effects of these decisions, but all of these projects are meant to contribute to the sustainable development of a strong and enduring dairy industry in the coming years. It is wonderful to see provinces standing in solidarity and forging progress together toward common goals, in the best interest of all. And while the national bodies that make certain decisions to ensure a prosperous future in the Canadian industry seem far away from our barns, they are nonetheless made up of producers like you and me, who are sitting at the table to defend your interests and achieve greater equity on the basis of the objectives laid out in the mandates entrusted to us by you.
Daniel Gobeil, Chairman
Download the editorial