In the wake of financial troubles surrounding ILTA Grain Inc., the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) has announced some new steps it was taking to protect farmers who have delivered grain to the company.
According to a news release from the commission on Aug. 7, an escrow account is being created into which funds will be placed relating to grain deliveries for which no cheques have been issued. Producers may be compensated from this account, according to the CGC.
As part of the negotiation of the escrow agreement, the Canadian Grain Commission has now reinstated ILTA Grain Inc.’s grain dealer and primary elevator licences effective Aug. 7. This is on the condition ILTA Grain Inc. not purchase grain from, receive grain from, or otherwise incur liabilities to grain producers. However, ILTA Grain Inc. may sell, remove or otherwise transfer grain or grain products held or stored at its facilities.
Previously, ILTA Grain Inc. was granted creditor protection from the B.C. Supreme Court on July 8. Three days later, on July 11, the Canadian Grain Commission suspended all licences issued to ILTA Grain Inc., and that suspension remained in effect until the Aug. 7 announcement that those were being reinstated.
“One of the key conditions of reinstating ILTA Grain Inc.’s licences is that ILTA is not allowed to purchase grain from producers,” said Patti Miller, chief commissioner and deputy head of the Canadian Grain Commission, in a news release.
“At the Canadian Grain Commission, we take producer protection seriously. We have taken several steps to protect the rights of producers who have delivered to ILTA Grain Inc. including visits by our auditors and inspectors to obtain information and documentation, starting the claims process, and negotiating an escrow agreement.”
According to the commission, its members have visited ILTA Grain Inc.’s offices and facilities and are completing a final audit to establish the number of claims. They have heard from more than 200 producers to date.
The firm PricewaterhouseCoopers was previously appointed to monitor Ilta Grain Inc. According to the CGC, PricewaterhouseCoopers will hold the account for Ilta Grain Inc. until it has been determined how the funds will be distributed.
ILTA Grain Inc. is a grain exporter who operates primary elevators in Belle Plaine and Saskatoon and several other facilities throughout the province, including in the North Battleford area and also in Cut Knife.
Their efforts in the Battlefords area earned Ilta Grain Inc. the title of Business of the Year at the Battlefords Business Excellence Awards (BBEX) in 2017.
The grain commission has also spelled out requirements for producers to be eligible for claims made under the Safeguards for Grain Farmers Program.
To be eligible the producer must deliver to a licensed grain company, deliver one of the 20 grains regulated by the Canada Grain Act, present the proper documents (a primary elevator receipt, a grain receipt, a cash purchase ticket or cheque), demand payment during eligibility periods, and report non-payment to the Canadian Grain Commission.
The CGC also indicated they will contact any producers who have reported payment issues. Once the commission has confirmed producers’ contact information, they will send out a completed claim form for them to sign and return as soon as possible. The claims process cannot move ahead without a signed claim form, the CGC has stated.
Any producers who have not contacted the commission yet, but who delivered to ILTA Grain Inc. before July 11, 2019 and have not received payment, are being urged to immediately contact the Canadian Grain Commission at 1-800-853-6705.