CGC to consult on cost-recovery model for user fees

The Canadian Grain Commission plans to consult farmers and industry on its proposals to update its user fee schedule, much of which it says has gone unchanged for almost 20 years.

“Most of the Canadian Grain Commission’s current fees do not cover the cost of the services we provide,” the CGC said in an online consultation document, launched Tuesday. “Overall, fee revenue now only accounts for about 50 per cent of costs incurred.”

For instance, the CGC said, basing its required revenue on a total overall grain handle of 50.6 million tonnes as the benchmark for a “normal” year’s inward and outward inspection and weighing, its costs to process producer car applications have rished from $248,880 to $285,808 per year.

Aiming for 100 per cent cost recovery in such a year, the CGC proposes a fee hike to $23 per producer car application, up from $20.

For a larger example, the CGC says its inward inspection services would require revenue of about $28.97 million for 100 per cent cost recovery in its “normal” year, but it currently collects just $7.59 million from inward inspection fees.

And where the weighted average fee across all grains and oilseeds (wheat, corn, canola et cetera) for the CGC’s inward inspection in a normal year now runs about $25.68 per rail car/truckload/container, the weighted average fee needed for 100 per cent cost recovery would be $97.25 per unit.

“Fair and consistent”

A more detailed schedule of proposed fees will be released in March next year, the CGC said, with a breakdown of fees for individual services rather than weighted averages.

The commission also proposed to move to a new “universal” fee for all classes of licenses it issues. Such fees are now charged at a rate of $60 per primary elevator license and $1,200 per license for all other classes.

But where the current fee schedule brings in just $281,490 in a “normal” year, the CGC said it would need to charge $6,075 per license, across the board, to cover total costs of $3.04 million per “normal” year.

“The input from farmers and grain industry stakeholders will help us ensure that we have fair and consistent user fees, service standards, and performance measures for our services,” CGC chief commissioner Elwin Hermanson said in a release Tuesday.

The commission has so far scheduled seven information sessions between Edmonton and Montreal and between Jan. 12 and 26, with three others (Vancouver, Peace River, Moncton) to be added if requested.

Farmers or other industry stakeholders wanting to take part in any of the sessions listed online are asked to contact the CGC at least three days before the given session.

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