June 07, 2004

Refined sugar production has a 187-year history in Canada, but this important Canadian industry is at risk.

The sugar industry directly employs more than 1,500 Canadians at refineries in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, as well as hundreds of prairie sugar beet farmers. Canada's efficient sugar production has also contributed to the development of a vibrant value-added food processing sector in Canada that provides good jobs for 312,000 Canadians. Sugar is not an industry that Canada can afford to sacrifice.

Canadian sugar is unique in the world in that it does not depend on government subsidies. Basing prices on world raw sugar markets, Canada's globally-efficient producers sell sugar at prices that are among the lowest in the world.

In a fair market, Canadian sugar can thrive, but the current trade environment is dramatically uneven: while Canada maintains an 8% tariff on sugar imports (the lowest in the world), the US tariff stands at 150%, the European Union's at 225%. The result is that Canada's refined sugar has zero access to markets in most countries.

Distortions in international sugar trade are being exacerbated by one-off regional trade agreements like the one Canada struck with Costa Rica in 2001. The Costa Rica agreement opened the door for more Costa Rican sugar to Canada, yet Canadian producers are prevented from offsetting that lost market in Costa Rica, the United States, or anywhere else.

Canada's sugar industry can't afford to be sacrificed again. This year, trade negotiations between Canada and the CA4 countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua) will reach a critical point. The Canadian government's own studies show that further opening Canada's market to the CA4 countries without ensuring viable export opportunities will cost Canada's industry more than $30 million in the near term, and will result in the closure of at least one refinery in western Canada. Canadian sugar producers are expecting the federal government to keep its promise to carefully consider the sustainability of this important industry in future trade negotiations.

Canada's small refined sugar tariff must be maintained until sugar is dealt with on a global level through the WTO, where we can work with countries in similar positions to stand up to the world's big sugar powers. To undertake new regional agreements without involving the United States, our primary potential export market, poses a serious risk to the Canadian industry's sustainability.

Make sure the sugar industry's survival is an election issue in your riding, and that voters in your community know they have your support.

Please contact us for more information.
Sandra Marsden, President
Larissa Fenn, Coordinator, Trade Policy & Communications

Canada's sugar industry employs people in your community.

Sugar industry employees and sugar beet growers reside in these ridings:

  • Abbotsford
  • Ahuntsic
  • Ajax-Pickering
  • Alfred-Pellan
  • Argenteuil-Mirabel
  • Beaches-East York
  • Beauharnois-Salaberry
  • Berthier - Maskinongé
  • Bourassa
  • Brampton West
  • Brant
  • Brome-Missisquoi
  • Brossard-La Prairie
  • Burlington
  • Burnaby-Douglas
  • Cambridge
  • Chambly-Borduas
  • Châteauguay-St-Constant
  • Chicoutimi-Le Fjord
  • Clarington-Scugog-Uxbridge
  • Compton-Stanstead
  • Crowfoot
  • Davenport
  • Delta-Richmond East
  • Dewdney-Alouette
  • Don Valley East
  • Don Valley West
  • Drummond
  • Eglinton-Lawrence
  • Etobicoke Centre
  • Etobicoke North
  • Etobicoke-Lakeshore*
  • Hamilton East-Stoney Creek
  • Hochelaga*
  • Honoré-Mercier
  • Jeanne-Le Ber
  • La Pointe-de-l'Île
  • Lac Saint Louis
  • Langley
  • LaSalle-Émard
  • Laurentides-Labelle
  • Laurier
  • Laval
  • Laval-Les Îles
  • Lethbridge
  • Longueuil
  • Marc-Aurèle-Fortin
  • Markham-Unionville
  • McLeod
  • Medicine Hat*
  • Mégantic-L'Érable
  • Mississauga East-Cooksville
  • Mississauga South
  • Mississauga-Brampton South
  • Mississauga-Erindale
  • Mississauga-Streetsville
  • Montcalm
  • Mount Royal
  • Newmarket-Aurora
  • New Westminster-Coquitlam
  • Niagara Falls
  • Niagara West-Glanbrook
  • Northumberland-Quinte West
  • North Vancouver
  • Notre-Dame-De-Grâce-Lachine
  • Oak Ridges-Markham
  • Oakville
  • Oshawa
  • Outremont
  • Papineau
  • Parkdale-High Park
  • Peterborough
  • Pickering-Scarborough East
  • Pierrefonds-Dollard
  • Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam
  • Repentigny
  • Richelieu
  • Richmond
  • Rivière-des-Mille-Îles
  • Rivière-du-Nord
  • Rosemont-La Petite Patrie
  • St-Bruno-St-Hubert
  • St-Hyacinthe-Bagot
  • St-Jean
  • St-Lambert
  • St-Laurent-Cartierville*
  • St-Léonard-St-Michel
  • Scarborough Centre
  • Scarborough South West
  • Scarborough-Agincourt
  • Scarborough-Guildwood
  • Scarborough-Rouge River
  • Sherbrooke
  • Simcoe-Grey
  • South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale
  • St. Catharines
  • Surrey North
  • Terrebonne-Blainville
  • Thornhill
  • Toronto Centre*
  • Toronto-Danforth
  • Vancouver Centre
  • Vancouver East*
  • Vancouver Kingsway
  • Vancouver Quadra
  • Vancouver South
  • Vaudreuil-Soulanges
  • Vaughn
  • Verchères-Les Patriotes
  • Welland
  • Westmount-Ville Marie
  • Whitby-Oshawa
  • Wild Rose
  • York Centre
  • York South-Weston
  • York-Simcoe

* Sugar refineries, distribution centres and sugar beet plants