The DRC’s probable role became clear on June 20, when the Canadian Parliament amended the Safe Food for Canadians Act, repealing the board of arbitration and providing for the ability to name a third party to deliver dispute resolution services in Canada, according to a news release from the Ottawa-based DRC.
“Thanks to strong industry support, it is likely DRC will be named as the single entity providing default standards and dispute resolution services to the industry in Canada,” the release from the group said. DRC members should not expect to see any significant changes in the way they currently do business, according to the release.
DRC president and chief executive officer Fred Webber said in a statement that industry and government leaders have been working toward the single licensing system goal since the DRC was formed in 2000.
Key government officials in the U.S. and Canada saw the opportunity to strengthen the Canadian licensing/dispute resolution system while at the same time making trade across the border easier and safer through regulatory cooperation and harmonization, he said. “We hope those same broad minded principals will continue to guide us as we move from completing the single licensing system in Canada to the development of an insolvency tool like the PACA Trust in Canada.”
Webber said consultations are open until July 15 on that next step for Canada and its produce industry.
The timeline for the changes in Canada’s law:
- Fall 2013/Winter 2014 — Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Agri-Food Canada’s extensive consultations with industry demonstrated overwhelming support that DRC be named as the single service provider for administering dispute resolution.
- Spring 2014 — DRC president and CEO Fred Webber appeared before the House Finance Standing Committee to advocate for the two amendments to the Safe Food for Canadians Act.
- June 2014 — Amendment of the Safe Food for Canadians Act repeals the board of arbitration and allowing for a third party to resolve disputes.
- Summer 2014 — The SCFA regulations for food safety that are relevant to DRC should be appearing in Canada Gazette Part 1 for comment.