Helping the Dairy Sector Mitigate the Impact of COVID-19

OTTAWA – The Government of Canada is actively working to support our dairy producers and processors through this pandemic and to ensure Canadians continue to have access to good, affordable food.

On May 5, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the government’s intention to amend the Canadian Dairy Commission Act and increase the Canadian Dairy Commission’s (CDC) borrowing limit by $200 million to allow cheese and butter to be temporarily stored and avoid waste. Today, Parliament adopted these amendments that will increase the CDC’s borrowing limit from $300 million to $500 million.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant fluctuations in the demand for many dairy products. Unfortunately, dairy farmers have had no choice but to discard some of their milk. Stakeholders throughout the dairy industry supply chain are working closely with provincial marketing boards to ensure that Canadians continue to have access to a wide variety of dairy products, while implementing measures to temporarily reduce production.

The CDC plays an important regulatory role in our supply management system, which allows the dairy sector to match supply with demand. Increasing the CDC’s borrowing capacity will allow it to purchase and store more butter and cheese. These changes will complement existing CDC programs to help the sector manage surplus milk while delivering essential assistance to keep the supply chain strong.


“With $200 million in increased lending capacity, the Canadian Dairy Commission can provide stronger support for the supply management system by buying and storing more butter and cheese. It’s a great way to help manage production and to support our producers and processors, while ensuring a secure supply of local dairy products for Canadians.”
–       Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Quick facts

  • The Canadian dairy sector is a pillar of the vitality of rural communities and a key driver of the economy with billions of dollars in sales and tens of thousands of jobs.
  • In addition to their longstanding annual donations, dairy farmers and processors have been donating significant volumes of dairy products to food banks across the country to support Canadians in need during COVID-19. Over 1 million litres of milk have been donated to food banks in Quebec alone.
  • The Canadian Dairy Commission is a Crown corporation that administers milk production control mechanisms to avoid production shortages or surpluses. The Commission provides a framework for managing the sector, a shared federal and provincial responsibility.
  • On May 5, 2020, the Government of Canada announced the Surplus Food Purchase Program with an initial $50 million fund designed to help redistribute existing and unsold inventories to local food organizations who are serving vulnerable Canadians.