The Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada (FVGC), the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) and the Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation (DRC) have announced that Bill C-280, the Financial Protection for Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Farmers Act, has been passed at Second Reading in the House of Commons; marking a crucial step forward in ensuring the financial security of the fruit and vegetable sector, according to a release from the CPMA.
Bill C-280, championed by Member of Parliament (MP) Scot Davidson, aims to establish a deemed trust, a vital financial protection mechanism for fresh produce sellers in Canada. This mechanism will help secure payment in the event of buyer bankruptcy, providing stability and support to the industry while safeguarding Canadian food security.
"The successful passage of Bill C-280 at Second Reading is an extraordinary milestone, and we wholeheartedly express our appreciation to MP Scot Davidson for his commitment in propelling this legislation forward," expressed Rebecca Lee, executive director of FVGC. "For over three decades, the fresh produce sector has tirelessly advocated for the implementation of a financial protection mechanism. Today, we find ourselves closer than ever to realizing our long-standing goal. This achievement marks a significant leap towards ensuring the security and prosperity of our industry."
The deemed trust proposed by Bill C-280 mirrors the successful model employed in the United States. It presents a financially feasible solution that imposes no additional burden on the government. By establishing this trust, fresh produce sellers can continue to contribute to local economies across the country, while providing Canadians with safe and nutritious fruit and vegetable products.
The perishable nature of fresh produce, coupled with common industry payment terms, leave sellers unable to recover losses when faced with buyer bankruptcy. The recent case of Lakeside Produce in Leamington, Ontario, serves as a reminder of the urgent need for a financial protection tool to safeguard this essential sector and uphold food security in Canada.
"The significance of this legislation for the fresh produce industry cannot be overstated,” emphasized Ron Lemaire, president of CPMA. “As we proceed to the Committee stage, we eagerly anticipate further deliberations on the topic of financial protection for fresh produce sellers. We are optimistic about a future where the fresh produce sector thrives through a robust financial protection mechanism, fortifying the sector and ensuring enhanced food security for all Canadians."