Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) says it’s disappointed with the results of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which includes a calculated 3.9 per cent market access to the Canadian dairy industry.
The deal, which replaces the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), was hammered out in the 11th hour before Sunday’s deadline.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters the deal was “good for Canadian workers, good for Canadian business and good for Canadian families.”
But not everyone agrees with that statement.
“Would I encourage my sons or daughters to enter this industry?” asked Will Vanderhorst, who runs a 60-cow dairy farm in Norwood, Ont. “It continues to be whittled away and given up to other countries’ products.”
The deal also scraps Class 7 — a domestic pricing class that governs milk ingredients. Now, milk protein concentrate, skim milk powder and infant formula will be priced at the U.S. price point.
“One of the main pillars of supply management is border controls,” Vanderhorst added. “As we weaken those controls, we weaken our ability to operate the system.”
Jeff Leal served as the Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government. He said he was concerned about the USMCA and its effects on rural communities.
“Erosion of supply management will have dramatic impact in rural communities in Ontario,” Leal said. “We’ve seen so much investment in the dairy, chicken and egg industries in Ontario.”
“As details of the new USMCA deal unfold, DFO will look to the federal government to stand behind their commitment to supporting supply management and ensuring Canadian dairy farmers are protected,” DFO said in a statement.
“The federal government says it supports supply management,” Vanderhorst added. “It appears we’re under attack. It’s a slow death by a thousand cuts.”