Régie des marchés agricoles et alimentaires du Québec
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Joint marketing plans

About joint marketing plans

In essence, a joint marketing plan is a tool for agricultural producers and fishers; it allows them to collectively negotiate and regulate the marketing conditions fortheir product or catch. A joint marketing plan is a mechanism for collective action which modifies the relationship among agro-industry partners.

Purpose of a joint marketing plan

A joint marketing plan is basically a means of improving marketing conditions; it permits better distribution of income derived from the sale of agricultural and fish products, simplifies the processor supply mechanism, and structures the product offer.

A plan may be tailored to product characteristics and stakeholders’requirements. It permits agricultural producers or fishers to be involved in every step of the marketing process – or just one step, as needs and circumstances require.

Implementing a joint marketing plan

As this is a mechanism available to agricultural producers and fishers, they are the only ones who can initiate such a plan and determine its implementation. Ten or more agricultural producers, specialized fishers or an association or cooperative representing them may prepare an application and a draft plan for submission to the Régie des marchés agricoles et alimentaires du Québec.

The application and draft plan must indicate the identity of the applicants, the organization assigned to administer the plan, the objectives of the applicants, howthese objectives will be realized, the category of agricultural producers or fishers and the product covered by the proposed plan, the financing method for administrative expenses to apply the plan, and, if applicable, the powers the applicants do not wish to exercise.

If the Régie accepts the application, it will submit the plan to a referendum of affected agricultural producers or fishers as proposed or with modifications it deems appropriate. In order for the referendum to be valid, half of the persons affected must vote.

The plan will be approved once two-thirds of voters in the agricultural sector or half of all voters in the fish sector have voted in favour of it; the total landing of voters from the fishers sector must account for more than half the total landing for all affected fishers.

If expressly requested by the applicants and if recommended by the Régie in view of exceptional circumstances, the Government may decree the implementation of a joint plan.

Persons and products targeted by a marketing plan

The plan must cover a particular product: an agricultural product must originate from a specific territory or be destined for a single buyer or a specific purpose, while a product from the fish sector may originate from a clearly identified landing site, be harvested according to a specific method, or intended for a specified purpose or buyer.

As soon as it comes into force, the plan covers all indicated production and all agricultural producers or fishers covered by the plan, whether or not they voted in the referendum held by the Régie.

Coming into force of a plan

When a joint marketing plan comes into force, anyone interested in the marketing of a covered product must, at the request of the organization that administers it, negotiate the conditions. All steps for marketing this product may also be negotiated. The negotiated marketing conditions apply to the product identified in the plan and to all agricultural producers or fishers covered by the plan and to buyers or groups of buyers who made these agreements.

Plan administration

The joint plan is administered by the organization indicated therein, as selected by the applicants: agriculture or fish marketing board, union or federation of specialized unions, or specialized cooperative.I

If the plan is administered by a marketing board, this board is established when the plan comes into effect; the board’s first administrators shall be identified therein. In all cases, only the individuals covered by the plan may sit on the board of directors and the administrators are elected by their colleagues at the annual general meeting.

Costs incurred in applying the plan and administration expenditures are paid through mandatory contributions from all covered agricultural producers or fishers. The amount of this contribution is indicated in the plan and may subsequently be modified as required through a general meeting of agricultural producers or fishers convened for this purpose.

Plan operation

Representatives of agricultural producers or fishers elected periodically during the annual general meeting oversee application of the plan and select the appropriate course of action. The board of directors is responsible for making the relevant decisions.

During the annual general meetings, agricultural producers or fishers elect administrators, approve the balance sheet for the year ended and cost projections for the current year, and approve contribution modifications; the board of directors reports on the day-to-day administration of the plan, the results of negotiations for marketing conditions for covered products, and regulations application.

The plan and regulations

The organization responsible for administering the plan may enact various regulations to govern administration of the plan and marketing of the covered product: balancing supply and demand, joint sale, payment conditions, sharing of marketing and transportation costs, declaration of marketing volume, implementation of a payment guarantee fund, etc. Regardless of whether they are governed by the general assembly or the board of administrators, all of the regulations must be approved by the Régie before they come into force.

Marketing agreements

Anyone involved in marketing a product covered by a plan must, when requested by the organization that applies the plan, negotiate the marketingc onditions. To be valid, agreements resulting from these negotiations must be approved by the Régie. In the event of a breakdown in negotiations, the parties may ask the Régie to designate a conciliator and, if necessary, arbitrate the dispute. The arbitrator’s decision replaces the approved agreement.

Accreditation and the plan

An association of persons involved in one of the marketing steps for a product covered by the plan may request accreditation from the Régie to represent these persons in negotiations to determine the marketing conditions for a product covered by the plan with the administering body.

If the Régie determines such association to be sufficiently representative and grants the requested accreditation, this association shall represent all covered persons, whether or not they are members of the association. Agreements made by the accredited association with the organization that administers the plan shall be binding upon all of the agricultural producers or fishers covered by the plan and upon all persons covered by the accreditation.

Coordination and development chambers

Organizations that administer a plan, as well as associations or other persons with an interest in any of the marketing steps for an agricultural or fish product may ask the Régie to create a coordination and development chamber for the production or marketing of this product. Once approved by the Régie, such a chamber may take all necessary measures to promote, improve, coordinate and develop production and marketing of an agricultural or food product.

The chamber may constitute a useful forum and an effective means of action for the entire sector covered, this contributing not only to the success of a joint plan, but also to the dynamism and development of a given file.

Joint marketing plans and cooperatives

The primary stakeholders, agricultural producers or fishers, may assign the administration of their joint plan to a cooperative and even use both approaches (joint plan and cooperative) to market the same product. Where necessary, these two instruments may be combined for greater effectiveness. The implementation of a joint plan should not be construed as a means of competition against the cooperative organization of marketing of agricultural or fish products. Cooperatives should be used as much as possible when establishing or administering joint plans.

Joint plans and the Régie

The Régie des marchés agricoles et alimentaires du Québec is a government economic regulation organization.

The Régie oversees implementation of a joint plan, monitors application of the plan and regulations, approves agreements made between the organization administering the plan and marketing stakeholders, resolves and arbitrates disputes arising from application of these plans, and approves board regulations.

The Régie is legally empowered to settle all disputes or grievances arising from the application of a regulation or agreement. It exercises its mandate to protect consumers' interests and works in the public interest.

Joint plans and the economy

The powers exercised pursuant to joint marketing plans are very broad; these powers range from providing information on the state of markets to setting prices or even establishing supply rules for processing plants. In 2000, farm cash receipts obtained by producers, the value of deliveries of private forest products to processing plants and the value of fish landings in Québec reached almost $4.8 billion for production covered by a joint plan.

Note: The content of this document is based on the Act respecting the marketing of agricultural, food and fish products (R.S.Q., c. M-35.1) and should not be construed as an interpretation thereof. We invite readers wishing to learn more about their rights and obligations to examine the legislative provisions which constitute the sole authority in this matter, and to consult a lawyer, if necessary.

Dernière modification : 2018-01-11 - 15 h 58

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