July Dusk

July Dusk

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Appeal Tribunal denies Dougal Lea Ltd.'s request for review of DFO decision

The Ontario Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal has rejected a Smithville farmer's request for review of an earlier dismissal of his appeal of a DFO quota transfer assessment.  The Tribunal had found earlier that the circumstances of Paul MacDougall's case (in particular, the death of his wife, Maryanne, from cancer and his need to care for her) did not warrant relief from the 15% assessment levied on the proceeds of the sale of his dairy quota. 

On review, the Tribunal ruled against several legal arguments made by MacDougall, and made the following comment about the applicability of another case with similar facts:
Dougal Lea argued that the evidence was "almost identical" to the evidence from the Haleyview decision and there is no basis for differentiation between the decision outcomes and therefore Dougal Lea should receive an exemption as was granted in Haleyview.
However, in Haleyview, Paul Haley's incapacity due to illness and injury resulted in the decision to leave the dairy industry where Paul Haley had been the primary operator.
In this case, the McDougalls (Paul and Maryanne) were joint operators and there was not a primary operator. Maryanne became incapable of dairy farming due to illness and Paul ceased farming in order to care for Maryanne. I find that to be a significant distinguishing factor.

As the Tribunal explained in Dougal Lea, it is required to consider each situation and develop a set of expectations and criteria to explain why an exemption should apply in one case and not another. This explanation provides farmers insight about successful exemption applications.

It is clear to me that the Tribunal carefully considered the evidence presented in Dougal Lea against the facts from all previous instances where exemptions have been granted. In that analysis the Tribunal found there were several facts that made the Dougal Lea case different from any of the previous cases.
Read the decision at: Dougal Lea Ltd. vs. Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO).

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