Canadian Supply Management

Canadian Supply Management – A Canadian Approach to Farming Dairy, Eggs and Poultry.

Canada is celebrated around the world for its values of fairness, self-reliance, and cooperation. These values are deeply rooted in our history and closely connected to our geography, as vast distances and challenging environments long required Canadians, and especially Canadian farmers, to work together, plan carefully, and rely on each other and their communities. It is in keeping with these Canadian values that the practice of Canadian Supply Management arose, and why it still exists today.

Canadian Supply Management is a cooperative, farmer-managed way of ensuring that there is always the right supply of certain perishable products available at a price that is fair and reliable (for consumers and farmers alike) and produced in a way Canadians can be proud of.

With Canadian Supply Management, our farmers work together to ensure that local dairy, egg and poultry production anticipates and meets consumer demand. For consumers, this means there are never shortages of these essential staples that can spark sudden price hikes in-store. It also means there are never gluts and massive, sustained price drops, which can put local family farms out of business and leave Canadian consumers potentially having to buy products of uncertain origin or produced in countries that have different farming practices, regulations and oversight.

Canadian Supply Management is fundamentally a fairer, more collaborative, more Canadian approach to dairy, egg and poultry farming. It is also more sustainable approach than the government bailouts or taxpayer-funded subsidies used by countries with a more cutthroat, “race to the bottom” approach to the business of farming. It’s a homegrown, forward thinking, self-sufficient system that works brilliantly for fresh, perishable commodities grown locally for domestic consumption. And because of Supply Management, we avoid the “boom and bust” cycles that can devastate family farms and undermine rural communities which are such a part of Canadian society.

Canadian Supply Management: it’s a little-celebrated, but vital contribution to our Canadian way of life.

Canadian Supply Management in the Chicken Industry

Through quota and allocation, supply management of the broiler chicken industry in Canada balances provincial chicken production with consumption. BCCMB regulates using reporting procedures established in our General Orders. We allocate quota every production period (about 8 weeks) to approximately 325 licensed chicken growers.Supply Management relies on three pillars: import controls, live price controls and production controls.

Import Controls

Chicken Farmers of Canada need to safely predict how much will be imported into the Canada in order to determine how much chicken is needed domestically. This is achieved through the use of tariff rate quotas with effective over-quota tariffs to control imports of chicken products.

Live Price Controls

Every eight weeks, chicken farmers collectively negotiate a minimum live price with processors. The live price is normally based on the live price in other provinces and the cost of production. This ensures BC chicken farmers receive a fair price without the need for subsidies. Farmers do not set wholesale or retail prices.

Production Controls

Farmers plan their production to provide a steady supply of quality food, preventing sudden price shifts. We use a quota system to ensure there are no surpluses or shortages of chicken. Quota is an amount of chicken, expressed in live weight, which a grower may produce every 8 weeks. On average, each bird produced in BC represents 1.929 kg of live weight quota. The BC Chicken Marketing Board owns all broiler chicken quotas in BC.

Every sixteen weeks farms, processors, further processors and members of the restaurant and food service sector meet to determine market requirements and set national production levels. Once the national production level is set, Chicken Farmers of Canada gives each province an allocation. The BC Chicken Marketing Board allocates this volume among BC quota holders.

Three Pillars of Supply Management

Mainstream and Specialty Quota

In BC we have two types of quota: mainstream and specialty

Mainstream quota includes broilers, roasters and Cornish hens derived from a commercially available broiler chicken stock including Hubbard ISA, Cobb Vantress or Ross Breeders.

Specialty quota includes Asian specialty breeds including Silkie and Taiwanese.

For more information on specialty Asian chicken, please see the specialty Asian page.