Dairy supply management costly to consumers and farmers: Conference Board of Canada

The Conference Board of Canada is calling for reform of the dairy supply management system, which has been in place in its current form for more than 40 years.

The report entitled “Canada’s Reforming Dairy Supply Management: The Case for Growth” says the policy is costing Canadian families an addition $276 a year for dairy products than consumers in other countries, while preventing efficient dairy producers from expanding into world markets.

In a statement, the Conference Board’s Vice-President of Industry and Business Strategy, Michael Bloom says all Canadians have a stake in supply management.

“In addition, the policy effectively limits farmers’ growth opportunities by focusing them on the slow-growing Canadian market. Canada’s most efficient producers are already among the world’s best and there is every reason to believe that they can compete globally. In effect,  supply management policy is limiting income and jobs for Canada,” said Bloom.

In the report, the conference board calls for a win-win reform package where growth is achieved through export markets since it claims dairy consumption in Canada is growing. very slowly.

These arguments are not new to the Dairy Farmers of Canada.   On its website, it has pointed to examples of what happens when we move away from a supply management model.  They use the U.S. as a prime examples where the price for dairy products hit record highs last year and add the prices we pay here are comparable to other countries around the world.  It also points out that Canada is more open to trade then a lot of other countries, even with supply management.  They are also proud of the fact that dairy farmers do not receive subsidiaries like their counterparts in many other dairy producing nations    For their complete side of the argument click here.

This report is one of 20 being produced by the Centre for Food in Canada.  The Centre has been engaging stakeholders from business, government, academia, associations, and communities in creating a Canadian Food Strategy, which will be launched at the 3rd Canadian Food Summit 2014: From Strategy to Action, March 18-19 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

This is the first release from the research that went into the report, the opportunities for the dairy industry will be release in the conference board’s next release on Monday, March 3rd.