There’s been talk recently about opening the market to more imports, displacing the local and reliable foods Canadians trust, and placing the livelihoods of the farm families who grow them at risk.

Trade rules are critical to the Canadian chicken industry in order to maintain the three pillars of supply management: producer pricing, production discipline, and import controls.

The import controls pillar continues to be challenged from several different directions: the Duties Relief Program, spent fowl imports and of specially defined mixtures.

What are these you ask? Let’s take a look!

Duties Relief Program


What is it? According to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Duties Relief Program relieves the payment of duties, at the time of importation, on imported goods that will eventually be exported either in the same condition or after being used in the processing of other goods.

Why is this important to the chicken industry? The program was not designed for agriculture goods and does not provide adequate safeguards to address diversion into the domestic market when chicken is imported into Canada for further processing and subsequent re-export.

What can be done? Chicken Farmers of Canada has made recommendations to the federal government requesting that all chicken products be administered under Global Affairs Canada’s Import to Re-Export Program, which was explicitly designed for perishable agricultural goods.

Economic Losses as a Result
Farm Cash receipts: $44.5million
Jobs: 1,423 jobs lost
GDP: $107.1 million
Taxes: $35.7 million

Spent Fowl


What is it? Spent fowl are old laying hens. While broiler chickens are raised for meat consumption, spent fowl hens lay eggs, and when their productivity declines, they are processed for their meat.

Why is this important to the chicken industry? Chicken coming into Canada is subject to import controls, however spent fowl is not. Data is showing that chicken meat is being imported into Canada and fraudulently declared as spent fowl in order to bypass import controls.

What can be done? A mandatory certification process for spent fowl would put an end to this type of fraudulent import. We have successfully developed a DNA test that can distinguish between broiler and spent fowl meat. This test should be used to verify that there are no imports of broiler meat being smuggled into Canada as spent fowl in order to circumvent import controls.

Economic Losses as a Result
Farm Cash receipts: $86.7 million
Jobs: 2,771 jobs lost
GDP: $208.5 million
Taxes: $69.6 million

Specially Defined Mixtures


What is it? Chicken combined with 13% of other ingredients is labelled a “specially defined mixture” (SDM) and is not considered chicken for import control purposes. In other words, products containing up to 87% chicken meat are generally not subject to import controls.

Why is this important to the chicken industry? By adding sauce to a box of chicken wings or by stuffing uncooked chicken breast, many companies are deliberately creating products whose sole purpose is to evade import controls.

What can be done? The federal government needs to reinstate, into the Canadian Customs Tariff, the sauce and cooking requirements it has already negotiated in Canada’s World Trade Organization commitments.

Economic Losses as a Result
Farm Cash receipts: $8.2 million
Jobs: 262 jobs lost
GDP: $19.7 million
Taxes: $6.6 million

We support Canada’s balanced trade position that allows market access gains for Canadian exporters while preserving the integrity of Canada’s pillars of supply management. These challenges to the import controls pillar not only affect the quality of chicken you purchase, but the jobs and economic revenue associated with the Canadian chicken industry.

For more information on issues facing our industry, check out these pages on our website:

The Impact of Imports

Issues Facing the Industry