Thunder Bay/Chatham, ON — The Conservative federal budget Bill, C-45, contains amendments to the Canada Grain Act that will remove requirements that protect grain producers from multinational grain companies, by eliminating the impartial weighing inspection of grain being received at terminal elevators. It will also increase self-regulation and decrease overall inspections.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) represents 100 grain inspectors and weighers employed in Thunder Bay, of which 70 may lose their jobs due to the changes in the Act. PSAC also represents 12 weighers and inspectors in Chatham that may also be losing their employment due to these changes.
Inspectors collect grain samples from every rail car that comes to the elevators and inspect for quality, pests and diseases, as well as toxins, foreign materials or anything that could be damaging to the grain or harmful for human consumption.
Weighers weigh the grain received at elevators and that are loaded onto ships to ensure producers receive fair compensation for their product.
“Canada’s grain handling system is the best in the world, and now through the elimination of these inspectors and a potential 85% reduction in federal funding to the Canadian Grain Commission, we are jeopardizing the entire system”, states Bob Kingston, National President of the Agricultural Union, a component of the PSAC.
“What’s startling is we’ve seen what happens when an industry self-regulates, shortcuts are taken and quality is jeopardized. When you cut inspectors and remove regulations, you take away the assurances that the industry relies upon to sell grain at a higher value,” says Sharon DeSousa. “Canada’s international reputation for high quality grain should be a government priority, as the grain industry is one of the largest industries in Canada.”
PSAC is warning Canadians of the changes to this industry and the potential impacts for the economy, farmers and the public.