Fresh Takes

30,000 Litres of Milk Wasted Because of Government Policy

30,000 litres.

That’s how much milk one Ontario farmer allegedly had to dump because he produced more than his government-sanctioned quota allowed him last month.

It didn’t go to a food bank, to schools, or to help those who need it. Rather, it was thrown out—a total waste.

The worst thing is, this isn’t unusual in the least. In all, over 74 million litres of milk were dumped in Ontario alone during the 2020-2021 financial year, the last year for which Ontario’s Dairy Farmers published the figures.

This nonsense is due to an archaic system dating back more than 60 years that controls the supply, import, and farm prices of eggs, poultry, and dairy in Canada.

In practice, what the system does is restrict supply using quotas in order to keep prices artificially high. The result is millions of litres of milk going to waste every year, not to mention more expensive grocery bills for Canadian families, and a nicer, fatter cheque for supply-managed farmers.

And it’s not just a few pennies. Studies have pegged the extra cost stemming from this restriction of supply at anywhere between $300 and $445 annually for each Canadian family. That was before the soaring inflation that’s currently hitting our wallets.

Already in 2015, it was estimated the poorest 20 per cent of Canadian households were paying an extra $339 on average for their groceries because of this system.

All for what? To keep a small group of entrenched interests—the owners of supply-managed farms—artificially wealthy thanks to a government program.

And they are wealthy. According to Statistics Canada, the average dairy farm is valued at roughly $4.5 million, while the average egg and poultry operation is valued at just over $6.2 million.

With prices across the board currently rising significantly, it’s time to stop making Canadian consumers pay even more for dairy, eggs, and poultry. Getting rid of supply management would give Canadians some much needed financial breathing room, while putting a long overdue end to the shameful waste of dumping.

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