Rainbow

Rainbow

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Appeal Tribunal refuses to reinstate tobacco quota

Gubbels Farms Ltd. has grown tobacco under the marketing-system-of-the-day in Ontario since 1962. In 2008, Gubbels Farms Ltd. was licensed to produce approximately 418,000 lbs of basic production quota ("BPQ"). Gubbels Farms Ltd. did not participate in the Tobacco Transition Program ("TTP") and intended to continue producing tobacco for market. In 2009, the Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers' Marketing Board ("Board") removed the existing quota-based system for the control of production and marketing of tobacco and moved to a licensed-based system. The effect of this change was that the 418,000 lbs of BPQ associated with Gubbels Farms Ltd. ceased to exist. Also, before a licence to produce tobacco could be issued under the new system to Gubbels Farms Ltd., they had to be an eligible applicant and meet criteria set out in the General Regulations 2009 - 2010. Although Gubbels Farms Ltd. did not agree with the implementation of the licensed-based system, they complied with the new requirements and were issued licenses to produce tobacco in 2009 and 2010.

Gubbels Farms Ltd. appealed to the Board on April 1, 2010, asking for an exemption from the licensing requirements under the General Regulations 2009 - 2010 and for a refund of license fees paid to the Board for 2009 and 2010. The Board denied the request on April 22, 2010.  Gubbels Farms Ltd. appealed to the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal for relief from the April 22, 2010, decision of the Board with the following request:

Gubbels Farms requests that their permanent BPQ be reinstated and that, as a result, they be licensed to grow tobacco under the previous system. Furthermore, Gubbels Farms requests that the Board refund to Gubbels Farms all monies that it paid to the Board for the redundant licences (#65) for the 2009 and 2010 growing seasons.
The Tribunal found that the legislative and regulatory framework relative to the Board's absolute authority over quota, which included the BPQ, was in effect when the Board made its decision to drop the quota-based system and move to the license-based system. In short, the Board had the authority to remove the BPQ.  The Tribunal also found that the relief sought by the Appellant to have their BPQ reinstated was impossible to grant under this appeal. Pursuant to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act, the Tribunal could direct the Board to take any action that it is authorized to take under the Farm Products Marketing Act, and for this purpose may substitute its opinion for that of the Board.

This appeal, however, requested the reinstatement of the BPQ previously associated with Gubbels Farms Ltd. The Board's authority to issue tobacco quota was removed by the Farm Products Marketing Commission under the Farm Products Marketing Act Ontario Regulation 208/09 Tobacco - Powers of Local Board effective June 1, 2009. Furthermore, since the previous quota-based system no longer exists, there is no present or future opportunity for the Appellant to be licensed to grow and market tobacco under that previous system. Therefore, the licenses issued to the Appellant for the 2009 and 2010 growing seasons were not redundant. The fees associated with said licenses complete the licensing requirements of the Board and were authorized by Ontario Regulation 208/09.

Read the decision at: Gubbels Farms Ltd v. Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers' Marketing Board.