* CWB loses grain monopoly on Aug. 1
* Gov't provides funds for downsizing, transition costs
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, June 28 The Canadian
government said on Thursday it will give the Canadian Wheat
Board up to C$349 million ($339 million) over five years to
cover one-time costs related to the loss of its grain marketing
The funds will cover costs such as employee severance,
pensions, benefits and computer systems as the CWB downsizes to
compete in an open market.
"This one-time injection will put the CWB on stable footing
as a competitive marketing option for Canadian farmers," said
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.
The Conservative government stripped the CWB of its
69-year-old monopoly with legislation late last year, creating
an open market for Western Canadian wheat and barley starting
Aug. 1, 2012.
For those crops harvested at that date or later, farmers
will be able to sell them to any buyer, not just the CWB.
The money will come from general government funds, not funds
that the CWB had built up over the years, and is earmarked for
spending related to the CWB's transition, not day-to-day
The Winnipeg-based CWB has steadily downsized from 400
workers in December, and will likely have fewer than 100 workers
by the end of 2012.
The CWB has struck agreements to use some grain handlers'
country elevators as farmer delivery points for crops it buys,
including facilities owned by Viterra Inc and Cargill