CGC’s proposed fee changes go to consultation

The specific changes the Canadian Grain Commission plans for its schedule of individual user fees for its services will be open to public comment until month’s end.

The commission on Tuesday announced the launch of what it calls “pre-proposal notification” as per the federal User Fees Act, both online and through written submissions, until a deadline of March 31.

Stakeholders checking out the CGC’s Individual Fees Consultation Document will be asked for their written feedback on the commission’s proposed changes to individual fees, and on its proposals for individual service standards and performance measures.

The CGC expects to implement proposed changes to user fees starting in the 2012-13 fiscal year, once its proposals have gone through the federal regulatory process.

The commission proposes to base its fees on 100 per cent cost recovery in an average year for the fiscal years 2012-13 through 2016-17, and expects those fees to rise at a rate of 1.6 per cent per year over those five fiscal years.

Inward and outward inspection fees, for example, would rise to $107.50 per unit (car, truck, container) in 2012-13 and gradually to $114.50 by 2016-17. Producer car fees in 2012-13 would be $25 per car, rising to $26.50 by 2016-17. A longer list of proposed fees is available in the consultation document.

The proposed individual fees in the pre-proposal notification won’t reflect the stakeholder recommendations made in its first phase of consultations across Canada, nor those made in a related producer poll in November last year, the commission noted.

That’s because the CGC has no authority to make decisions that are subject to the approval of the federal cabinet or that require a change to an act of Parliament, the commission said.

“Stable and reliable”

However, the CGC said, “all stakeholder comments from both consultation phases will be taken into consideration when we submit recommendations and a formal proposal to cabinet and Parliament to change our user fees.”

Most CGC user fees were last adjusted in 1991 by between three and seven per cent, the commission notes. By the late 1990s, the commission said, its funding base was “inadequate,” while fees were either left unadjusted or were actively frozen (2000-2003).

Fees were then subjected to federal review — and legislation to adjust the fees has been introduced twice since 2007 but has not passed, the CGC said.

“Over the years, we have done a lot to maintain services in a cost effective way within our current fee structure and within the requirements of the Canada Grain Act, but it is not enough,” the commission said in a release Tuesday.

“By updating our user fees, we will be able to have a stable and reliable source of funding that will support our services for our stakeholders.”

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