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Further disappointment surrounding Bill C-474

Grain Farmers of Ontario struggles with bill passing second reading

GUELPH, ON (April 15, 2010) – Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) is greatly disappointed with the result of the second reading of bill C-474 last night. The bill passed last evening with 153 voting in favour and 134 opposed. The bill now goes to the Agriculture Standing Committee for review.

Bill C-474 calls for an amendment to the Seeds Regulations to require that an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted. The effect of this bill will be to introduce non science-based criteria to Canada’s evaluation and approval process for biotech seeds. A move in this direction would represent a serious and dangerous departure from a science based regulatory approach – an approach that has served farmers well in defending Canada’s ability to export agricultural production to other countries.

“A move to depart from a science-based regulatory approach would be an open invitation for other countries to impose non-science based trade barriers on Canada’s grain exports” said Barry Senft, CEO of GFO.

Bill C-474 would eliminate advantages now enjoyed by Ontario farmers and consumers by introducing unpredictable factors into the regulatory process. The bill could indefinitely delay all future approvals on the basis that there may be one country somewhere that would not accept genetically modified crops.

A coalition of farm groups, including GFO, opposed to bill C-474 will take the time prior to their testimony at the Agriculture Standing Committee to build a strong case against the bill and to ensure farmers from across Canada are represented on the issue.

Farmers are encouraged to contact GFO for more information and arrange a meeting with their local MP to discuss the impact this issue will have on Ontario farmers. 

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.

Contact:

Barry Senft, CEO - 1-800-265-0550; bsenft@gfo.ca

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