This section provides you with everything you have always wanted to know about the Canadian Dairy Commission and the Canadian dairy industry.
Click on the tabs below for facts and statistics about the CDC and the dairy industry. You can also download handy fact sheets about each topic.
The Canadian Dairy Commission
The CDC at a glance
- Crown corporation was established in 1966 by the Canadian Dairy Commission Act
- Based in Ottawa
- Over 70 employees
- Dairy year: from August 1 to July 31
Key facilitator for the Canadian dairy industry and serves to:
- Regulate the supply for dairy products
- Manage the milk supply
- Monitor the production, processing, and marketing of dairy products
- Manage milk classes with the provinces
- Manage the national market revenue pooling system on behalf of the dairy sector
- Promote dairy ingredients
Fair compensation: Provide producers of milk and cream with the opportunity to obtain a fair return for their labour and investment.
Efficient supply: Provide consumers of dairy products with a continuous and adequate supply of dairy products of high quality.
Provide leadership that stimulates Canada's dairy industry for the benefit of Canadians.
Excellence - Integrity - Leadership - Respect
Our Areas of Activity
|Setting the price of milk
|Goal: To ensure fair compensation to producers and provide consumers with access to a quality product
|Managing supply and establishing quotas
|Goal: To minimize the risks of shortages and surpluses
Purchasing and storing dairy products throughout the seasons
|Goal: To deal with seasonal fluctuations in supply and demand
|Programs of the CDC
|Goal: To promote innovation through our programs
Managing tariff rate quotas for butter (WTO)
|Goal: To ensure that imports of dairy products are in conformity with international agreements
Milk: A mobilizing industry
- In Canada, there are more than 10,300 dairy farms, with a total of nearly 970,000 cows
- Quebec and Ontario have the greatest percentage of dairy farms at 81%
- The average farm has 92 cows and an average annual production of 37,003 kg of butterfat
- More than 27,000 people work in the dairy processing sector
Two main markets
- Fluid milk about 27%
- Industrial milk about 73%
The Canadian dairy industry ecosystem
The Canadian Dairy Commission is at the heart of the industry and ensures a good fit between the partners’ different needs and interests.
Created in 1971, supply management is a collective marketing Canadian agricultural policy intended to:
- Ensure local production of high quality foods
- Guarantee producers a stable and equitable income derived entirely from the marketplace
- Avoid depending on government subsidies and the dumping of surpluses into third markets
It’s a social contract between producers, processors, and consumers, with one objective: transparency and quality throughout the country.
An industry committed to offering a quality product
Nothing is left to chance in milk production: implementing the best practices and the industry’s highest standards result in offering Canadians a product that is:
|Of superior quality
Canadian milk is able to minimize its carbon footprint thanks to:
- Better use of agricultural waters.
- Constantly seeking better practices with respect to reducing GHG emissions, the use of renewable energies and technological tools.
Animal welfare is a must for producing high-quality milk.
Milk producers ensure cow comfort on a daily basis and can rely on experts in the fields of nutrition and animal health.
Compliance with standards
Among the highest in the world, the standards followed by producers ensure the high quality of Canadian milk:
- Milk composition
- Safety of dairy products
- Animal welfare
The proAction Program highlights producers’ achievements with respect to compliance with production standards, animal welfare standards and the best environmental practices.
Calculating the cost of milk production
The Canadian Dairy Commission plays the role of facilitator for all the links in the milk production chain. It assesses production costs based on the reality of the producers and inflation.
|Assessing the cost of production for producers
|Cost of production includes farm costs, such as feed, veterinary care, seed, maintaining infrastructure, etc. These costs are currently rising sharply.
|Using that cost in the national formula
|The national formula is used to set the price adjustment percentage (%) that will be used by the provincial boards.
|Consultation with the various industry groups
|The various industry groups include producers, processors, restauranteurs, retailers and consumers. Each group can make their case.
|CDC approval of the producer price
|The producer price determined by the CDC is calculated for all dairy products, also called "milk classes" (milk, cheese, butter, yogurt etc.)
|Milk purchase by processors
|The processors buy the raw milk at the price determined by the provincial boards for each class of milk and produce dairy products.
The various dairy products: milk classes
Class 1: All milk and beverages (milk, cream, eggnog, etc.)
Class 2: Yogurts, sports milk drinks, ice cream etc.
Class 3: All cheese products
Class 4: Butter, butteroil and dairy products (concentrated or powder) for the food industry
Class 5: Dairy products used as an ingredient in the further processing sector
The CDC: a crucial role from coast to coast
Practical implications for Canadian milk producers and consumers
|Stable production revenues and better share of the retail price
|High quality groceries at a reasonable price
|Greater financial independence of the industry from government
|Efficient and respectful agriculture on a human scale
|Quality Canadian milk without preservatives, antibiotics, or artificial growth hormones
|Sustainable growth of the industry from an environmental standpoint
|Compliance with dairy safety standards, animal welfare standards, and milk composition standards among the highest in the world
A proud and essential industry
"Producing milk that is as perfect as can be is what drives us to raise healthy cows, protect our land and resources, and ensure every glass of milk is safe and free of antibiotic residue.
Every day, we work to ensure Canadian dairy provides an enduring and valuable legacy for all Canadians."
~ Dairy Farmers of Canada
"Canada's dairy processors create jobs for more than 24, 000 Canadians in over 470 facilities across the country. Dairy processing is the second-largest food manufacturing industry in Canada. We purchase more than 9.2 billion litres of milk from Canada's 10, 000 dairy farms and contribute more than $16 billion to Canada's GDP each year."
~ Dairy Processors Association of Canada
"Being governed by supply management, dairy products [...] have gradually increased in price, but generally at a slower rate than wages. They are therefore more affordable today."
~ Free translation. From the article "Panier d'épicerie : Les aliments vous coûtent-ils vraiment plus cher qu'avant?", ICI Radio-Canada, 2022.