Growing, harvesting, packing, and marketing fruits and vegetables is risky: costs are high, capital is tied up in farm land, buildings and machinery, and returns are delayed until the product is sold and payment is collected up the supply chain.
In the U.S., if a produce buyer goes bankrupt, a grower or seller can rely on the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) Deemed Trust to help them get paid for their sale.
However, because there is no such insolvency tool for U.S. growers and sellers to rely on when doing business in Canada, the U.S. has denied growers and sellers in Canada from having preferential access to their PACA dispute resolution programs. This lack of financial protection has serious implications for the viability of Canada's horticultural sector, as it impacts sustainability and the ability to fund innovation in the sector.
Canada's horticultural sector requires the establishment of a limited statutory deemed trust that protects produce growers and sellers during bankruptcy in Canada. Implementation of a trust will significantly reduce supply chain disruptions and the vulnerability of small businesses and of rural communities. It will also improve trade relations with our largest and most important trading partner.
The Canadian government should adopt the draft Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Products Protection Act, written by Dr. R.C.C. Cuming, an expert in Canada’s bankruptcy laws.
Upon introduction of the legislation, Canada should request restitution of Canadian preferential access to PACA by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Current Advocacy Activities
CHC continues to request Financial Protection in its submissions to Government of Canada consultations, including Finance Canada’s 2018 Budget consultation.
Previous Advocacy Activities
In June 2017, CHC presented the issue as a non-tariff trade barrier at the Standing Committee on Agriculture & Agri-Food. The Committee subsequently wrote a letter to the Minister of Agriculture and unanimously asked him to look into the file.
In September 2017, during an appearance before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, CHC addressed the need for Financial Protection and supported the committee’s decision to send a letter to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, urging him to take action.
In June 2017, CHC successfully worked with Members of Parliament to raise the issue during Question Period.
In November 2017, CHC and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) lobbied the federal government during meetings with Members of Parliament and Senators. The meetings were held as part of the two organizations’ annual Fall Harvest advocacy event.