Dairy Farmers of Canada waiting for government compensation, but getting recognition at McDonald’s

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

McDonald's Canada is now using the Blue Cow logo. Pic: CNW Group/Dairy Farmers of Canada
McDonald's Canada is now using the Blue Cow logo. Pic: CNW Group/Dairy Farmers of Canada

Related tags Dairy farmers Dairy Canada Mcdonald's USMCA

Following the annual general meeting of the Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC), which brought together 200 dairy farmers from across the country in a virtual format, dairy farmers expressed concern that they have waited more than a year for an announcement on the balance of compensation owed for losses related to recent international trade agreements.

However, in some good news for the Canadian dairy sector, McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited will feature the DFC Blue Cow logo for its cones and sundaes promotion this summer to show consumers the products are made with 100% Canadian milk.

The compensation issue overshadowed the meeting, with the DFC saying many producers are wondering why the government has been so slow to honor its commitment towards "full and fair" compensation for the market share conceded to foreign dairy production, a commitment dating back several years.

Canada's trade agreement with the European Union (CETA) came into force in 2017, while the trade agreement with the Trans-Pacific countries (CPTPP) came into force in 2018. The DFC said that, despite the government's promises to compensate dairy farmers for these two agreements, Canadian producers are still waiting on a firm timeline to be announced for the balance owed.

The effect of these agreements has been further exacerbated by the coming-into-force of CUSMA, Canada's new trade agreement with the US and Mexico, on July 1, 2020. As a result of CUSMA and other trade agreements, Canada will have outsourced the equivalent of 18% of its domestic dairy production to foreign countries by 2024, the DFC said.

"Right before the 2019 election, the government announced a first instalment on the compensation for CETA and the CPTPP, which was a fraction of the overall total farmers were promised,"​ Pierre Lampron, president of DFC, said.

"What happened to the commitment towards full and fair compensation for the remaining years? What about the compensation for CUSMA? Every now and then, when dairy farmers get impatient, the government reminds us of its commitments – but the time to deliver on those promises is now, since the consequences of those agreements are already being felt on the farm.”

Following a motion adopted at its AGM, DFC called on the government to announce the payment schedule and related amounts for the balance of compensation owed for CETA and the CPTPP, and announce a clear timeline and level of compensation for its promise on CUSMA. The DFC said the compensation must be granted in the form of direct payments.

McDonald’s announcement

DFC said McDonald's Canada using the Blue Cow logo means the company joins a growing number of companies and products using the Blue Cow logo to identify products made with Canadian milk.

Close to 500 licensees and more than 8,000 products now feature the Blue Cow, which has been recognized as one of the top three most influential logos in Canada, according to Cohesion Strategies. Nine out of 10 Canadian consumers now recognize the logo.

"McDonald's Canada's adoption of the Blue Cow logo speaks volumes about their confidence in Canadian dairy farmers and the stringent standards they uphold every single day in producing high-quality milk,"​ Lampron said.

Jean-Guillaume Bertola, director, brand strategy, McDonald's Canada, said, "This relationship with Dairy Farmers of Canada is one of the many ways we are showcasing our commitment to our Canadian-based suppliers and farmers, and providing quality ingredients to our guests coast-to-coast."

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