The Government of Saskatchewan is challenging the Government of Quebec’s restrictions that prevent the sale of certain margarines, coffee whiteners and dessert toppings in the Quebec market. These restrictions deny market opportunities for western oilseed producers and processors.
Saskatchewan’s challenge will be considered on January 8 by a dispute resolution panel, established under the pan-Canadian Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), at a public hearing in Quebec City. The Saskatchewan-led challenge is supported by the governments of Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba.
“Saskatchewan believes in free trade, and our government is committed to knocking down barriers that harm our farmers,” Minister responsible for Trade Tim McMillan said. “We believe that these illegal restrictions in Quebec contravene rules that prohibit governments from creating barriers to trade in Canada.”
“Our government is committed to expanding both international and domestic market access for our producers,” Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said.“The Quebec market represents new growth opportunities for our Saskatchewan products and we will stand up for our producers and processors to ensure they are not discriminated against by unfair trade rules.”
“We are pleased that Saskatchewan, along with the other western provinces, is showing leadership in tackling barriers to trade in Canada,” Vegetable Oil Industry of Canada President Sean McPhee said. “Our members look forward to the time when vegetable oil-based alternatives to dairy products can be manufactured and sold in all parts of Canada.”
In June, the provincial government formally requested the establishment of a dispute resolution panel to determine if the restrictions by Quebec contravene the AIT. A ruling by this panel is expected by the end of March 2014.