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Quebec restaurants demand new agri-food policy


January 17, 2012
By Canadian Pizza

January 17, 2012, Quebec – The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) and the Council of Chain Restaurants of Quebec (CCRQ) are calling for a new agri-food policy to address supply management concerns in the province.

The CCRQ and the CRFA will appear before the National Assembly's Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries, Energy and Natural Resources today to ask the government to address problems with supply management in the Quebec's chicken and dairy sectors.

"Restaurants buy a third of the chicken produced in the province, but current policies mean we cannot source the types of products that our customers demand at reasonable prices," said Justin Taylor, vice-president of labour and supply at CRFA. "Government policies should drive innovation, not stifle it."

Restaurateurs will also demand that the province address unfairness in cheese pricing policies. Under the current policy, frozen pizza factories can purchase their cheese at deep discounts while restaurants have to pay as much as 30 per cent more for the same cheese.

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"Pizzerias must compete with frozen pizzas that are marketed as 'just-like-delivery' and receive a steep discount thanks to outdated government policies," said Jean Lefebvre, vice-president of the CCRQ. "This creates an unlevel playing field in the market."

Restaurateurs are calling on both provincial and federal governments to create agri-food policies for Canada that are fair and transparent and balance the needs of consumers, restaurateurs and producers.

"Instead of concentrating on limiting supply, we should be driving innovation and developing markets for Quebec's high-quality food products," said Taylor.

The hearings in Quebec follow the launch of CRFA's Free Your Milk campaign (www.freeyourmilk.ca), designed to draw attention to the 40-year-old supply management policies responsible for inflating the cost of dairy in Canada.