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Canada: Trade Ruling a Boon for Oilseed Industry

Last week, a panel under Canada’s Agreement of Internal Trade upheld a complaint issued by the province of Saskatchewan, and is requiring Quebec, which represents 25% of the Canadian market, to stop labeling laws that have prohibited the use of terms like butter, milk, and cheese on dairy substitute products.

The ruling will mean the opening of the entire Canadian market to Saskatchewan oilseed producers, as well as producers of oilseed-based products such as margarine, salad dressing, cooking oils, shortenings, and mayonnaise.

Much progress has been made by the Vegetable Oil Industry of Canada (VOIC), which represents 70,000 Canadian oilseed growers, seed developers, processors and suppliers. Since its formation in 2001, the organization has been pivotal in opening the Ontario market to the country’s western oilseed industry in 2011, and now Quebec, which together represent two thirds of the entire Canadian market.

The expanded market will mean increased domestic demand, and will likely drive a flurry of oilseed-based product development and innovation, which prior to the ruling would not have been worth the costs involved.

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