Calgary, AB — (August 1, 2018): The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association is outraged that the Canadian Grain Commission continues to overcharge farmers for their grain inspection, accumulating a $130 Million surplus in the process.
“This surplus is built on the backs of hard working farmers, money that should be in their pockets, not CGC coffers. The CGC continues to keep their check-off fee higher than is required to meet their operational budget resulting in this enormous surplus. These funds should be refunded to the farmers that earned it and the check-off fee rate reduced,” said Levi Wood, President.
The $130M surplus will be split between the Reserve Fund ($40M) and unspecified Strategic Investments ($90M). These funds were allocated by CGC without consultations to grain organizations such as the WCWGA.
On April 25, 2017, the WCWGA received a legal opinion that the CGC is in violation of Section 5.1 of the User Fees Act and Section 53 of the Constitution Act, 1867. The opinion states, “This has been interpreted by the Supreme Court of Canada to prohibit any part of the federal government, other than the House of Commons, from initiating a tax. Therefore, the Commission may not collect Fees that in law amount to a tax.” The legal opinion may be read in its entirety here.
Justice Rothstein clearly and succinctly set forth the rule governing regulatory authorities collecting user fees that constitute a tax:
“Section 23 of the Parks Agency Act specifies that the Minister cannot set a user fee for services or facilities that is higher than the cost to the government of providing them.”
"This is unacceptable. These overcharges by CGC, which amount to tax, are taken from the farmer's bottom line and should not be used to expand the mandate of the grain commission. It is time we look at private sector numbers and find the most trustworthy and most cost-effective way to provide the services of CGC. It would be at a fraction of the cost," said Jim Wickett, Chair.
About the Wheat Growers
Founded in 1970, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association is a voluntary farmer-run advocacy organization dedicated to developing public policy solutions that strengthen the profitability and sustainability of farming, and the agricultural industry as a whole. For more information, please visit: wheatgrowers.ca.
For more information, please contact:
Levi Wood, President Jim Wickett, Chair
1 (306) 535-2997 – M 1 (306) 219-8009