Georgian Bay Milk Co., based in Barrie, Ont., would buy milk from a clutch of farmers operating outside Canada’s tightly controlled supply managed dairy industry and ship it to dairies in New York state.
The business was profitable, and it generated jobs and exports – everything the federal Conservative government says it’s all about.
But the Ontario Superior Court declared the exports illegal, ruling in 2008 that farmers must sell their milk exclusively through the province’s official dairy marketing board, the Dairy Farmers of Ontario.
“We could be exporters of milk and cheese, instead of importers,” laments Chris Birch, a former dairy farmer who started the now-shuttered company. “It’s ridiculous.”