In a decision handed down December 9, 2008, Ontario’s Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal found that the Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) did not carry out its public duty to administer milk-production quota transfers in a “just and fair” manner. At issue was the implementation without notice of a 15% transfer assessment (tax) on quota transfers between producers. The most contentious aspect of this new “tax” was that it was implemented without notice and with no phase-in period. Milk quota currently sells for about $30,000 per cow.
The cases of three producers were considered at the tribunal. In all three case, the producers had followed every available avenue to protest the DFO’s tax “assessment” and to request exemptions. As a result of the Tribunal’s decision, the DFO was ordered to refund all the assessments that had been collected on the sale of quota by these three producers — an amount totaling more than $800,000. The Tribunal’s report states: “…The appellants [producers] testified that as a result of the DFO’s actions, they had lost faith and trust in their governing body and, therefore, decided to exit the industry despite facing a large financial loss in doing so…” Continue reading