Thursday, December 14, 2017

Tribunal lacks jurisdiction on milk quality

Milk quality issues are beyond the jurisdiction of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeals Tribunal.

It means that what inspectors determine stands, provided the Dairy Farmers of Ontario milk marketing board stands by them.

That’s what happened in the case of Jeffrey French who brought an appeal to the tribunal, seeking a refund of $40,000 for his losses when the milk board inspector condemned his dairy and kept him from marketing milk fror 30 days.

French has subsequently surrendered his licence after the suspension in the summer of 2015.

Even had the tribunal not decided it lacks jurisdiction to deal with milk quality issues, French would probably have lost because the tribunal wrote in its decision released this week:

“The inspectors’ determinations to downgrade the Appellant’s milk classification and suspend his access to the milk market were dictated by the poor condition of his dairy farm, the unclean conditions of his equipment and animals, all considerations which are specifically set out in the Milk Regulation.

“The inspectors’ evidence before the Tribunal was supported by test results reflecting elevated bacterial and somatic cell levels and was also supported by photographic evidence of unclean and unsanitary conditions, equipment and animals as well as direct testimony that confirmed the photographic evidence.

“Therefore, the inspectors’ determinations regarding the Appellant’s milk classification and access to the milk market were in conformity with the Milk Regulation.”