2017 Harvest

2017 Harvest

Friday, May 7, 2010

BC Court rejects challenge of marketing board ruling that farmers cannot rent out milk quota

Lilian and Sandy Stewart (the “Stewarts”), are dairy farmers and owners of milk quota. They had a contract milking agreement with a third party, Steven Verdonk, to “milk” their lower mainland quota rather than milk it themselves, in contravention of the rules of the quota system in British Columbia.  The British Columbia Farm Industry Review Board (the “BCFIRB”) and the B.C. Milk Marketing Board (the “Milk Board”), became aware that many quota holders, like the Stewarts, were renting out their quotas contrary to the rules of the quota system, and therefore began a process of regularizing the system, including dealing with the non-compliant quota holders and those who rented from them.  On November 7, 2008, the Milk Board made a decision to retract the Stewarts’ milk quota due to their non-compliance with the rules and to allocate the quota to Mr. Verdonk. The Stewarts appealed the Milk Board’s decision to the BCFIRB.  In a decision released on February 26, 2009, the BCFIRB dismissed the Stewarts’ appeal.  The Stewarts then made an application for judicial review of the Board's decision.

In its hearing of the judicial review application, the B.C. Supreme Court found that:
  • the treatment of the Stewarts' issues by the Board was not unfair;
  • the procedural aspects of the hearing by the Board did not demonstrate unfairness; and,
  • the decision itself of the Board was not patently unreasonable (or unreasonable at all).
On this basis, the judicial review application was dismissed. 

Read the decision at: Stewart v. British Columbia Farm Industry Review Board.