Regulations establishing the Berry Growers of Ontario as a marketing board for producers of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries under the Farm Products Marketing Act (FPMA)
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Farm Products Marketing Act
Summary of Decision:
Ontario Regulation 383/17 (Berries - Plan) establishes a new local board to regulate the production and marketing of Ontario strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. The Plan defines berries and berry producers and establishes the governance framework for the new local board, the Berry Growers of Ontario.
Ontario Regulation 428/17 (Berries - Marketing) gives the Berry Growers of Ontario powers to regulate the production and marketing of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. These powers include the power to make regulations providing for the licensing of persons engaging in the production of berries, the fixing, payment and collection of licence fees and the power to require persons to provide information to the local board. The Marketing Regulation also establishes an industry advisory committee for berries.
Ontario Regulation 383/17 became effective on November 1, 2017 and Ontario Regulation 428/17 became effective on November 15, 2017.
February 14, 2017
Summary of Proposal:
There are about 760 berry growers in Ontario. In 2014, Ontario's berry industry accounted for over $30 million in farm gate sales. Growers are currently organized through voluntary membership in two associations - the Ontario Berry Growers Association (OBGA) and the Ontario Highbush Blueberry Growers Association (OHBGA).
In spring 2016, after consulting with their members and the Commission, the OBGA and the OHBGA jointly proposed to the Commission that it take steps to establish a marketing board for berries. Through an expression of opinion vote, berry growers voted strongly in favour of establishing a marketing board. Of the growers who voted, 74% were in favour of the proposal. Those growers represented 82% of the production of those who voted.
A berry marketing board would replace the associations and benefit growers by providing stable funding to one organization that would work on market development and promotion, invest in research and provide a unified voice to government and industry.
The plan regulation would establish a Plan for the control and regulation of the producing and marketing of berries and establish a marketing board known as the Berry Growers of Ontario. The regulated products would be blueberries, raspberries and strawberries produced in Ontario from a managed production system. Wild blueberries would not be included in the Plan. A producer for purposes of the Plan would be a person engaged in the producing of any combination of the three types of berries.
The board would be comprised of 9 members elected from among eligible producers, with 3 members representing each of the 3 types of berries. Member terms would be 3 years and staggered so that one position for each berry is elected each year. Members could serve for up to 3 terms before a mandatory one-year break. The regulation would include a requirement to review the Plan after five years with a view to moving towards "at-large" representation.
The marketing regulation would grant specific powers to the marketing board, including the power to make regulations providing for the licensing of berry producers, the fixing and payment of licence fees, and the power to require persons engaged in producing or marketing of berries to provide information to the board. The marketing board would not have authority to set price, negotiate contracts or establish quotas.
According to the proposal, the board would set the licence fee at $250 for any combination of acreage of the three crops between 2 and 5 acres. A producer would pay a licence fee of $50 for each additional acre above 5 acres. Producers with non-bearing acreage or less than two bearing acres would be exempt from paying licence fees.
The board would have the authority to use its funds for research, education, promotion, stakeholder relationships and collaborations for the overall improvement of the Ontario berry industry.
The marketing regulation would establish an industry advisory committee that would be empowered to advise and make recommendations to the board on the promotion and improvement of the producing and marketing of berries in Ontario.
Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission
1 Stone Road West, 5th Floor
November 1, 2017