Category Archives: News

Stay of Injunction against raw milk was NOT granted | Financial Post story

It was announced today to OFOF farmshare members and Glencolton Farms supporters, via email, by the group’s lawyers, that: 

“…the stay of the injunctive orders of Sutherland J. was not granted. We did, however, get the requested stay, or adjournment of the appeal. In short, Nordheimer J. agreed that there was a serious issue to be determined with the Charter Application, and we take that as encouraging. However, he disagreed that the harm amounted to being irreparable, as he characterized it being the appellants decision not to re-purpose the cows for producing milk in a legal way. Further, he stated that the harm could be quantified as damages. On the balance of convenience, he favoured obeying the law until such a law is declared unconstitutional, or in our case, until exemptions are granted….”

In other raw milk news, Michael Schmidt’s former lawyer, Karen Selick, has written a story on the now-criminal status of raw milk in Ontario titled “You can now go to prison in Canada for providing raw milk. Seriously!”. Here’s a brief excerpt from that story: 

“As Canada ambles along towards the day when its prisons will empty of people who did nothing more heinous than possess marijuana, the province of Ontario appears eager to fill its empty jail cells with individuals whose so-called crime was distributing raw milk.

On Jan. 5, 2018, Justice P. W. Sutherland of Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice imposed an injunction in a case called Downing v. ARC. Downing is the provincial Milk Act Director, while ARC is an incorporated farm co-op that allegedly was distributing raw milk, but has now closed down its milk operation. In essence, the decision transformed an action that was previously a provincial regulatory offence punishable only by fines — distributing raw milk — into a federal crime punishable by up to two years in prison.”

Read more on the Financial Post.

Meanwhile farmshare members and friends of legal raw milk in Ontario are raising funds for the appeal and constitutional challenge through a crowdfunding campaign at:


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After Court Today, a Decision Will Be Rendered Sometime Next Week

This morning, both sides made their arguments at the Ontario court of appeal as to whether or not the raw milk injunction should be stayed while our constitutional application is moving along.The judge reserved his decision; our lawyers say we might not receive the decision Monday, but they do expect it sometime next week.
I want to express gratitude to each and every person who came out to the hearing this morning; I think we somehow got to the exact right number (we must have been about 40, maybe more, including several people I spoke to from other cow-share communities). The room was full even after the clerks brought in extra chairs, and while unfortunately a few people could not get into the room, it meant that every time someone left, another took their place. Maybe our presence officially made no difference, but NOT having the room completely full of supporters to witness the process would surely have sent the wrong message that maybe it wasn’t so important to us.
If you haven’t been following the crowdfunding campaign, take a look:
And please, please share it widely across social media. The online campaign is just one part of the fundraising picture – individual community members have been generous with legal donations through FarmMatch, cheques and e-transfers – but it’s our primary way of mobilizing support beyond our direct cow-share communities.

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Hearing Friday Feb. 23rd at 10 am of Motion for Stay of Injunction

Tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 23rd, the lawyers that we are raising funds to pay for (see post below) will be appearing before a judge at Osgoode Hall to put forward a motion for a stay of the injunction, pending an appeal of the January 2018 decision to grant injunctions to criminalize the operation of the milk bottling and cheese-making operation (aka a “milk plant”) at Glencolton Farms, as well as distribution of milk to Coop members in the Regions of York, Simcoe and Peel.
Estimates are that the courtroom may have space for 30-40 audience members. Some of those seats may be filled with supporters of the injunction. Raw milk and food freedom enthusiasts are encouraged to come out and show their support. The outcome of this motion is very important to the farm and to those wishing to drink the milk
Please be sure to remember to bring your best court room decorum. I’m sure you are all already aware, but the judge will be very irritated by any talking, cheering, cell phones, etc. If anyone has to leave the court room during the motion for some reason, please re-enter quietly and bow to the judge upon entry. Our lawyers will be quite focused going into the hearing, so will not be able to talk much to anyone outside the core group until after.
The motion will be heard at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Court Room No. 7 at 10:00 a.m. If you’re coming, aim to arrive early.
The short title of proceedings is: Gavin Downing et al. v. Agri-Cultural Renewal Co-operative Inc. et al.

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Raw Milk Drinkers in Ontario Seek to Raise $100,000 to Challenge Injunction that Criminalizes Raw Milk Distribution

Help us defend constitutional rights of raw milk consumers in Canada!

Raw milk consumers across Canada have spent decades peacefully trying to obtain raw milk from local farmers despite the threat of harassment from the authorities. Finally, some of us have stepped forward to tell the courts that our constitutional rights are being violated by laws restricting access to raw milk – a food that is perfectly legal to consume in Canada.

A January 2018 injunction against anyone “selling, delivering or distributing” raw milk in Ontario was the last straw, criminalizing peaceful citizens who want access to this safe, unprocessed food. So, with the encouragement of leaders from several cow-share communities in southwestern Ontario – we’ve mobilized!

We found a highly experienced lawyer to represent us on a partly pro bono basis, and his legal team has been building our case at lightning speed. In early February they served a Notice of Application against the Attorneys General of Ontario and Canada, on our behalf – 19 raw milk consumers and two raw milk producers, whose freedom of conscience or religion, and security of person, are being violated (under sections 2 and 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms).

All 21 of us applicants made this commitment despite financial risk, the ordeal of being cross-examined, and fear of the unknown consequences of taking on the Government. We did this not only based on our personal conviction, but on behalf of our raw milk communities and other consumers across Canada, who all stand to benefit from this constitutional challenge.

Please help us pay the legal bills: $100,000 during the next ten months. (Regardless of which side wins at the Ontario Superior Court, the decision could be appealed and ultimately the case may be decided by the Supreme Court of Canada. So next year, unless the case is settled, we will have to raise money for the next round.) Continue reading

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No More Raw Milk for Coop Members due to Injunctions Granted to Shut Down “Milk Plant” and “Distribution”

Glencolton Farms farmer Elisa van der Hout leads a group of OFOF Coop members on a tour of the dairy barn back in April of 2017.

Members of Our Farm Our Food Coop are in a tight spot due to injunctions granted  January 5th to Ontario Milk Director Gavin Downing and the Regions of York, Simcoe and Peel.

In short these injunctions would shut down the “milk plant” at Glencolton Farms and also criminalize continued “distribution” of raw milk in the Regions of York, Simcoe and Peel. The injunctions apply to anyone who has knowledge of the court ordered injunctions, so potentially these apply not just to the operations of Glencolton Farms and the Our Farm Our Food Coop (OFOF) but to any raw milk suppliers or cowshare groups.

One of the few media reports on the injunction that has appeared so far, has been a story in the Owen Sound Sun Times, titled “Court Stops Raw Milk Work“. It remains to be seen whether Milk Director Gavin Downing or representatives of any of the Regions (York, Simcoe, Peel) which asked for the injunctions, will take steps to publicize them, now that they have been granted by the court. Because, after all, the injunctions only apply to those who have knowledge of them.

In his 25 page ruling, Justice Sutherland said that the injunction originally asked for by the Regions was overbroad and that the injunction which he granted more closely followed the wording of the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Milk Act. Continue reading

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Black Eye for Canada’s Justice System?

In a recent post on his “The Complete Patient” blog, American raw milk journalist David Gumpert explains in some detail why the United States does not treat raw milk farmers as political prisoners, the way Michael Schmidt is now being treated in Canada.

“Why doesn’t America have a Michael Schmidt equal, a farmer who is a political prisoner? After all, raw milk availability has been just as contentious an issue in the U.S. as in Canada. There have been surprise raids, court suits, and trials. We have the same Big Dairy influences as Canada. And we have the farmer candidates—Alvin Schlangen, Vernon Hershberger, Amos Miller, Mark McAfee—who have been threatened with criminal charges

Yet they are all walking around free and continuing to make their raw dairy products available, while Michael Schmidt continues to be hounded and even thrown in jail.

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Kathleen Wynn on CBC Radio One Call In Show Nov. 16th, 12 noon – 1 pm

On Thursday, November 16th, 12-1pm on CBC Radio 1, the call in show Ontario Today will have Kathleen Wynn as a guest for the full hour. 1-888-817-8995

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