© AgMedia Inc.
by SUSAN MANN
The Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal is ordering Dairy Farmers of Ontario to repay John and Susanna Cayer $114,492.80 in quota sales income they lost due to the organization’s transfer assessment policy.
The money must be repaid without interest and within 30 days of the March 31 Tribunal decision.
The Cayers couldn’t be reached for comment.
Bill Mitchell, a spokesman for DFO, says the organization’s board will review the decision at its regular meeting later this month.
In its decision, the Tribunal gave three reasons for granting the former milk producers’ appeal:
• Compassion because the Chesterville-area farmers experienced undue hardship due to John’s health problems. During the two-day hearing (Oct. 31, 2008 and Feb. 2, 2009), the Tribunal learned John’s chronic pain prevents him from working as a dairy farmer and causes problems with daily living;
• The couple’s plans to leave the dairy industry because of John’s failing health were already in progress when DFO introduced a 15 per cent transfer assessment on all quota sold on the exchange effective Nov. 17, 2006. The Cayers sold their quota in January 2007. The assessment lowered their sales proceeds by $114,492.80. After DFO denied the Cayers’ request for an exemption, the couple appealed to the Tribunal.
• DFO made errors and omissions during the exemption request procedure.
The Tribunal recommends the marketing organization write a policy “allowing requests for exemptions from the effects of a DFO policy based on extraordinary circumstances.” It also recommends the organization develop a protocol for exemption requests and train staff and directors to follow it. BF