Monday, October 16, 2017

Veggie negotiating protocols outlined

 The Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission is proposing a new pricing protocol for the Ontario Processing Vegetables Marketing Board.

The industry has until Dec. 11 to file comments.

The proposal calls for two stages of negotiations.

The first stage would set minimum prices. Tonnages would be based on the previous four-year average.

The processors and the marketing board would also negotiate prices for tonnages greater than the base volume.

The second stage would be between each processing company and its farmer-suppliers.

OPVG would continue to appoint members to each negotiating agency, which negotiate the agreements, but would be required to appoint a minimum number of active growers who contract with a processor for that crop.

Negotiation deadlines would be moved up by three weeks, with a required start date, so that constructive discussions could begin well in advance of deadlines.

The amended regulation would allow either party to a negotiating agency to trigger mandatory conciliation prior to arbitration.

To promote increased consultation with growers during negotiations, growers would be given the power to call a meeting with their negotiating agency representatives prior to arbitration.

If arbitration is required, the arbitrator would have flexibility to make a decision that was not necessarily just one party's final offer in its entirety.

Parties would be required to provide the names of negotiating agency appointees to the Commission ahead of the start of negotiations.

The Commission intends to monitor the implementation of the new regulations and to complete a full review by March 31, 2020.