Feds move to mitigate impact of COVID-19 on dairy industry
May 19, 2020, Toronto, Ont. – Parliament has adopted amendments that will increase the Canadian Dairy Commission’s (CDC’s) borrowing limit to $500 million from $300 million.
The federal government had announced May 5 that it would be amending the Canadian Dairy Commission Act in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move will allow the CDC to borrow more money to allow cheese and butter to be temporarily stored and avoid waste.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant fluctuations in the demand for many dairy products, the government said in a press release, and unfortunately, dairy farmers have had no choice but to discard some of their milk.
“With $200 million in increased lending capacity, the Canadian Dairy Commission can provide stronger support for the supply management system by buying and storing more butter and cheese,” said Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. “It’s a great way to help manage production and to support our producers and processors, while ensuring a secure supply of local dairy products for Canadians.”
Stakeholders throughout the dairy industry supply chain are working closely with provincial marketing boards to ensure that Canadians continue to have access to a wide variety of dairy products, while implementing measures to temporarily reduce production, the government states.
“The CDC plays an important regulatory role in our supply management system, which allows the dairy sector to match supply with demand,” the government said in a statement. “Increasing the CDC’s borrowing capacity will allow it to purchase and store more butter and cheese. These changes will complement existing CDC programs to help the sector manage surplus milk while delivering essential assistance to keep the supply chain strong.”
Canada’s dairy sector is a key driver of the economy with billions of dollars in sales and tens of thousands of jobs. In addition to their longstanding annual donations, dairy farmers and processors have been donating significant volumes of dairy products to food banks across the country to support Canadians in need during COVID-19. More than one million litres of milk have been donated to food banks in Quebec alone.
The CDC is a Crown corporation that administers milk production control mechanisms to avoid production shortages or surpluses.