The Canadian Grain Commission was created in 1912 as a way to ensure Canadian farmers received a fair price for their grain. While our role has evolved over the past century, our mandate remains anchored by the needs of Canadian grain producers.
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Creation of the Canadian Grain Commission
During the 19th century, the Canadian government encouraged settlement of farmers in western Canada. Agriculture soon became the primary economic force in western Canada.
Before they had trucks, farmers used horses or oxen to pull carts of harvested grain to local elevators. If a producer did not like the price offered at the elevator, the producer would have to take the grain home and try another elevator on another day. Often only one elevator served an area, so many farmers would have to accept the offered price or not sell their grain at all; other elevators were too far away.
At the time, many farmers believed that grain dealers didn’t grade grain honestly. Farmers suspected that dealers were paying them for lower grades and then selling that same grain at a higher grade and higher price. Farmers also believed that weighing devices, like scales, varied in accuracy from elevator to elevator.
Because agriculture was a major part of Canada's economy, it was important that farmers were able to receive fair prices for their grain. If farmers felt they weren’t getting fair payment or they lost faith in the grain handling system, there was a risk they would give up farming and move away from western Canada, harming Canada's economy.
Beginning in the 1890s, farmers began lobbying the Canadian government for legislation that would help protect them against unfair practices. The Canadian government passed the Canada Grain Act in 1912. The Act streamlined existing legislation and regulations concerning grain and grain handling, and created the Board of Grain Commissioners for Canada - the first iteration of what is now the Canadian Grain Commission.
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