Canada moves step closer to PACA-like system

Key Canadian government officials have expressed support for Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act-like deemed trust in Canada.

The Standing Committee on Finance has included the trust language and another recommendation put forward to the committee by the Canadian Produce Marketing Association. The Standing Committee on Finance gave their report to the Minister of Finance in the development of Budget 2018, according to a news release.

“Our industry has been advocating for the implementation of a PACA-like deemed trust in Canada since reciprocity with the U.S. was revoked in 2014,” Ron Lemaire, president of CPMA, said in the release. “We are pleased to see the federal government taking real steps towards change, as this lack of protection is costing Canadian and U.S. firms operating in Canada an average of $19 million per year.”

He noted that nearly all of Canada’s fruit and vegetable producers are small businesses and even one bankruptcy can have devastating effects for these businesses and their communities.

The second recommendation is called the trusted employer program, developed by CPMA and the Canadian Horticultural Council. That program would speed the hiring process for qualified employers that have maintained good standing with the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, according to the release.

“We are thrilled that the committee has elected to include two of our recommendations,” Lemaire said in the release. “We are committed to working with the Minister of Finance and other relevant ministers to advance these policy issues in the hopes that they are included in Budget 2018.”

Lemaire said CPMA believes that a trusted employer model for the seasonal worker program and the establishment of a PACA-like deemed trust will help the Canadian produce industry’s long-term growth and sustainability.

The release said CPMA will continue to monitor the progress of these recommendation and will work with government officials with the aim that both provisions are included in the 2018 federal budget.

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