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April 15, 2015 – Winnipeg, Manitoba – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) has been preparing for commercialization since the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act was introduced in 2011. The Act gave CWB a deadline of August 2016 to submit an application for continuance to the Minister. CWB led its own process to commercialization. CWB and its corporate advisors established a strategy and timeline for commercialization that aimed to beat that deadline. The plan was to attract investment and other resources, not only to become independent of government, but to grow as a strong competitive option in Canada’s grain sector.
CWB conducted an extensive worldwide search, engaging accounting and legal expertise to consider over 50 potential strategic investors. The successful bid offered the best price and alignment with criteria CWB set out for consideration to ensure the maximum benefit for farmers and the sector.
Modernization of the Grain Sector
Marketing Freedom is a key piece of the Government of Canada’s overall modernization of the grain sector. Two and a half years into the open market, Canadian wheat is finding new customers in Asia, Africa and South America; shipments to the U.S. are at all-time highs and wheat exports are up almost 20 percent.
Other actions include:
- passage of the Agricultural Growth Act to enhance global market opportunities and support innovation;
- passage of the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act which took immediate action to deal with rail transport issues and longer term steps to improve the performance of the entire rail supply chain to help farmers get their crops to market through the Canadian Transportation Act Review;
- an aggressive trade and market access agenda, including trade agreements with Europe and South Korea;
- introduction of the Modernization of Canada’s Grain Industry Act proposing changes to the Canada Grain Commission to improve grain quality and safety;
- regulatory modernization and cutting red tape;
- a modernized grain Variety Registration program, which along with improved Plant Breeders’ Rights delivered by the Agricultural Growth Act, to ensure Canadian farmers have the best varieties of grain and other crops; and
- research investments, including:
- a collaboration with the province of Manitoba in a $20 million Grain Innovation Hub in Winnipeg that will grow Manitoba as a centre of innovation, and
- over $73 million in grain-related research clusters, which build on earlier investments;
- funding of $5 million to the Canadian International Grain Institute to create innovative applications and market-ready products developed from Canadian field crops including wheat;
- participation in the Canadian Wheat Alliance, with $85 million in cash and in-kind contributions by the Government of Canada to coordinate and support research that will boost profitability for wheat producers.
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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