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Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) welcomes the compensation announced in early November by the federal government to mitigate the impact of concessions made under the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). To compensate for market losses, $1.2 billion will be paid out over six years under the Dairy Direct Payment Program for dairy producers.
The government also announced the creation of a $300 million fund to support innovation and investment dedicated to processing solids-non-fat. Additionally, the government will establish a $105 million Supply Management Processing Investment Fund to support investments in dairy, poultry and egg processing plants, to grow their productivity or efficiency through new equipment and automation technologies.
“While we would have preferred no market concessions to begin with, we appreciate the compensation for our loss,” said DFC President Pierre Lampron. “This news is the culmination of several years of effort to defend the interests of dairy farmers. We achieved this compensation through the support and solidarity of dairy farmers, but also through the hard work of parliamentarians and their staff, and I want to thank them.”
At the announcement, the federal minister of agriculture and agri-food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, reiterated her government's commitment “to not cede any more market share under supply management in future trade agreements.”
DFC has been adamantly defending our members by pushing for limitations on market access, which we estimate will represent an annual loss equivalent to 8.4% of Canada’s milk production as a result of market given to trade agreements such as CETA, CPTPP and CUSMA. Adding these concessions to the access already granted under the World Trade Organization (WTO), it is estimated that by 2024, 18% of domestic demand for dairy products will be met by imports.
The announcement comes on the heels of the Economic Statement presented this fall by the deputy prime minister and minister of finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland. Several other investments of interest to dairy farmers were included in the announcement.
In particular, the federal government announced an investment tax credit for clean technologies, equivalent to 30% of the cost of environmental investments. It will invest $250 million to improve workforce skills and training for a transition to a carbon-neutral economy.
The federal government will also increase its efforts to stabilize supply and transportation chains by investing $603 million to facilitate the movement of goods within Canada. The government is providing new funding for infrastructure, digital transition of supply chains and reducing the regulatory burden on industry.
Finally, the government announced the establishment of a Canada Innovation and Investment Agency, funded at $1 billion over five years to support investments in innovation, including the agricultural sector.