The Ontario Independent Poultry Processors association is appealing to Ontario Premier and Agriculture Minister Kathleen Wynne to immediately implement the specialty-markets policy developed by the Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board.
That would short-circuit an appeal that has been filed by the Association of Ontario Chicken Processors, representing the large-volume processors, to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food Appeal Tribunal.
The AOCP says the Ontario policy should not be implemented unless and until the Chicken Farmers of Canada, the national agency over provincial boards, makes a decision on proposals for a specialty-markets policy.
Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario have been pushing hard for the policy, but Quebec is opposed, apparently because it thinks it might lose market share.
Ontario definitely thinks it would gain because there has been long-standing evidence that Ontario consumers want more chicken, especially for niche markets such as the Jewish community seeking kosher chicken and the Asian community seeking Hong-Kong dressed (feet and head on) chicken.
John Slot, staff member for the Ontario Independent Poultry Processors association, says in the appeal to Wynne that the appeals tribunal process simply delays implementation of the policy.
“It is an insult to the consumers of Ontario (and) it is not for supply management to dictate to what, where and when the consumers can have for their chicken, especially when the chicken that they are looking for are for ethnic and cultural protocol,” writes Slot.
He says the national agency has no business interfering with how the Ontario marketing board decides to assign the chickens the province is allowed to produce. It is up to the provincial board, not the national agency, to decide whether it wants to implement a specialty-markets policy.
The AOCP has objected that the specialty market policy will “cannibalize” existing markets – i.e. reduce demand for the chicken the big processing companies market.
The OIPP counters that “by providing the consumers with more choices, there will be an increase of chicken consumption in Ontario.
“More choices will create some cannibalization in the market place in the future, as this is market reality, but to make the statement that no cannibalization is allowed is stating that this policy is dead in the water.”
“The OIPP is asking that the Ontario agriculture minister steps up to the plate and gives a clear direction to the CFO to implement this policy without any further delay, as these appeals are time consuming and costly.
“This is not about supply management, this is about the Ontario consumers should have access to the chicken when, where and how they want it.
“It clearly begs the question, who is the disruptive force in the Ontario Chicken industry.”
During a hearing before the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission, the AOCP accused Slot and the OIPP of being a disruptive force. They succeeded in keeping Slot and the OIPP off of a chicken-board advisory committee.