Last week, the leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) — in advance of this fall’s federal elections — made a platform commitment to introduce payment protection for produce sellers similar to the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) offered in the United States. The Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Canadian Horticultural Council praised NDP leader Thomas Mulclair for taking a strong position on the issue, one that is considered by them as their top issue in the election. According to The Produce News, “The highly perishable nature of fresh produce makes the industry uniquely vulnerable during bankruptcies, risking financial ruin for those affected.”
A payment protection system has been long-sought by growers and sellers, especially since last October, when the United States government revoked Canada’s preferential treatment under PACA leaving their exports shipped across the border vulnerable to accessing administrative relief for non-payment and disputed contract issues. The preferred treatment was revoked since Canada lacked a payment protection system of its own, an issue the U.S. had pushed for decades. Growers and sellers challenged leaders in other parties “to show their support of Canada’s produce industry by making this issue a priority in their platforms.”
Western Growers senior executive vice president, Matt McInerney, who has worked closely for years with the Canadian produce industry on this issue, expressed his optimism with the very public position taken by the NDP. “Western Growers has long-advocated the need for the Canadian government to offer a financial risk mitigation tool for the entire produce supply chain in Canada. The commitment by the NDP energizes the conversation about protection for the produce sector. We applaud this platform position and hope that following the October elections, the newly formed government will move expeditiously to implement a payment protection plan that will be offered to all those selling produce throughout Canada.”
For more information, contact Matt McInerney at (949) 885-2270.