Dairy Processors Fret Over USMCA

CBJ — Senator Don Plett believes the federal government has turned its back on Canada’s dairy processors by allowing the USMCA to go into effect on July 1.

Plett says nearly 500 processing plants that employ 24,000 people across the country stand to lose up to $100 million.

The reason for concern is that the quota year for most key products begins in August and many terms of the agreement are tied into the production calendar.

The Dairy Processors Association of Canada echoes Plett’s concerns.

“We’re talking adjustment to products, portfolios — the product mix of my members, so that means that requires often plants retooling, new products, you have to find a new market. Now we’re left to do all of this basically within 30 days,” says Mathieu Frigon, President and CEO of the Dairy Processors Association of Canada.

In exchange for agreeing to fast-track the government’s implementation bill last month, Plett said Conservatives in the Senate received a guarantee from the governing Liberals that the USMCA would not go into effect before August. However, by signing off on the agreement back in April they effectively gave the start date decision to the Americans.