National Post Response

Fascinating that the recent University of Manitoba report covered by the National Post (Supply management costs poor families five times more relative to household income) accuses dairy, poultry and egg products of being 23% more expensive in Canada than in the U.S.  In fact, the OECD and the Senate Committee on National Finance found the same gap between almost ALL products in Canada versus the U.S., from books to diapers.  So, why the focus on supply management?

Is it trade? No. As far as trade is concerned, supply management has never stopped Canada from concluding trade agreements. In fact, Canada has signed nine international trade deals with 42 countries, with little to no impact on Canada’s chicken farmers.

Is it consumer prices? Nope. Supply management has nothing to do with retail prices. Setting those prices is the sole prerogative of the retailers, who charge what they think the market will bear. They set the price for food – and for everything else – for many reasons, including retailer competition, brand positioning, cost of competing items and specials to get consumers in the store. The biggest determinant of consumer price is where and when you shop. Dismantling supply management in no way guarantees any potential savings and may, in fact, drive prices up, like it has in other countries.

Canada’s supply management farmers are a stabilizing force in rural Canada, where they can – and do – reinvest with confidence in their communities. From farm to plate, we generate a variety jobs in not only farming and processing, but in transportation, retail, restaurants, and more. We are part of Canada’s economic solution, and do so without subsidies, unlike the billions of dollars that support agriculture in other countries.

Dave Janzen
Chicken Farmers of Canada