Poultry, egg farmers renew call on feds for CPTPP compensation

No timeline yet provided for remaining funds

Canada’s poultry and egg farmers say they are disappointed no compensation has yet been put in place for domestic market share given up under the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade pact.

Egg Farmers of Canada, Chicken Farmers of Canada, Turkey Farmers of Canada and Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, in a recent release, said they believed at the start of 2020 that the federal government would have in place “full and fair support” to mitigate CPTPP’s impacts, but they are still “awaiting the details of these programs and initiatives.”

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The groups said March 5 their members could lose billions of dollars in net operating income as a result of the CPTPP, because the deal opened up the Canadian domestic market to the pact’s partner countries.

While a working group created by the federal government has been set up to find how to best deliver an industry investment fund for compensation, no announcements have been made about what specifically will be offered.

“We appreciate the government’s repeated vocal support for supply management, but find the current situation worrisome. Our farmers have been patient and co-operative, and need to see concrete action,” the groups said.

“The lack of movement on this file is concerning, especially since recommendations were put forward to the federal government almost a year ago.”

Poultry and egg farmers are calling on the federal government to “uphold its commitment and announce the programs that provide full and fair support to Canada’s poultry and egg sectors as they absorb the impacts of the CPTPP.”

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau continues to voice support for supply management but has not given any timeline for when remaining compensation for CPTPP and other trade deals, such as the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), will be offered to affected producers.

“We are delivering on our commitment to provide full and fair compensation in support of supply-managed farmers, as a result of commitments made under CPTPP and CETA,” Bibeau’s office said in a statement.

“Through the Poultry and Egg Working Group we worked in partnership with the sectors to understand their views on how to respond to CETA and CPTPP in the most fair and effective way possible.”

Her office added it is working to ensure compensation “is made available as quickly as possible.”

The 2019 federal budget promised $3.9 billion in funding for eligible dairy, poultry and egg farmers to deal with impacts of CETA and CPTPP.

The federal government last August announced $1.75 billion over eight years would be paid directly to Canada’s nearly 11,000 dairy farmers to compensate them for CETA and CPTPP.

While dairy farmers asked for direct payments, poultry and egg producers have requested funds for investment to improve and expand farm businesses, and for domestic market development.

It’s not yet known whether the next budget, due out March 30, will include further detail on how other sectors will be compensated.

— D.C. Fraser reports for Glacier FarmMedia from Ottawa.

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