Comment s’explique l’écart de prix du lait au détail entre Plattsburgh et Montréal?

Dans son reportage sur la mobilisation du secteur bioalimentaire québécois en vue de la conférence ministérielle du PTP à Atlanta, le journaliste Michel Jean a rapporté qu’un gallon de lait se vendait à Plattsburgh 2,99 $ par rapport à 6,45 $ le 4 L à Montréal.

20151002-vacheVoici des éléments d’explication de cet écart :
D’abord, le journaliste compare un prix au gallon US (3,78 L), en dollars US (0,75 $ CA) avec le prix du 4 L en dollars canadiens. Si l’on fait la conversion du gallon en dollars américains en 4 L en dollars canadiens, le 2,99 $ US/gallon devient 4,22 $ CA/4 L.

En Ontario actuellement, on trouve du lait à 3,99 $/4 L, moins cher qu’à Plattsburgh.

Au Canada, avec la gestion de l’offre, tous les producteurs reçoivent le même prix pour leur lait, dans toutes les provinces. Le prix à la ferme est donc le même pour un producteur ontarien et un producteur québécois. La différence de prix entre le Québec et l’Ontario pour les consommateurs est due à des politiques de prix de détail différentes, notamment à l’utilisation du lait comme produit d’appel (loss leader) pour attirer les consommateurs, et à la réglementation du prix de détail au Québec. Cela n’a rien à voir avec le prix aux producteurs et avec la gestion de l’offre.

Ici, le prix de détail est réglementé par la Régie des marchés agricoles et alimentaires du Québec. Il y a un prix minimum et un prix maximum de vente. Par exemple, un 4 L de lait 2 % doit se vendre au minimum 6,18 $, et au maximum 6,78 $.

Cette politique vise à favoriser un prix uniforme partout et dans tous les points de vente (grandes surfaces, marchands indépendants et dépanneurs) et à éviter les guerres de prix qui pourraient faire disparaître les plus petites laiteries et les plus petits détaillants.

Comparaison du prix moyen de tout le lait vendu aux États-Unis et au Canada en 2014
Si l’on compare le prix moyen du lait, tous formats et tous types de lait confondus, pour l’année 2014, au Canada, aux États-Unis et en Nouvelle-Zélande, selon les données recueillies par la firme AC Nielsen, on obtient :

États-Unis : 1,15 $/L
Canada :   1,30 $/L
Nouvelle-Zélande :  1,83 $/L


  • Les producteurs de lait néo-zélandais, considérés comme les plus concurrentiels au monde, n’ont pas de gestion de l’offre et, pourtant, leurs consommateurs paient plus cher que les consommateurs canadiens.
  • Les prix d’une foule de produits canadiens (autos, pneus, vêtements, appareils électroniques, médicaments, etc.) sont plus chers qu’aux États-Unis. Ça n’a rien à voir avec la gestion de l’offre. De plus, les producteurs de lait américains ont des subventions, pas les producteurs canadiens.

Les Producteurs de lait du Québec, 29 septembre 2015

Obtenez toute l’information sur la gestion de l’offre sur le site

Maple syrup producers aren’t allowed to sell their products directly to consumers: true or false?


Direct sales are permitted as long as products are purchased for personal or family consumption and are not intended for resale. Producers may sell their products through sugar shacks, public markets, and roadside stands, as well as at special events and agricultural fairs. Over 6 million cans of maple syrup are sold each year through short marketing circuits, for total sales of $37.5 million. Direct maple syrup sales are far from marginal, and allow thousands of Quebecers to buy maple products directly from their family farmer.

For resale transactions (grocery chains, processing, exports, etc.), maple producers must hold a quota. These sales are subject to collective marketing regulations as implemented by Quebec maple producers through their joint agreement.

Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers

For further information regarding the production of maple syrup, see the files below.

DOCUMENTS Maple Syrup Collective Marketing
Collective Agricultural Product Marketing


What’s the difference between organic and conventional?

Organic foods are the products of organic agriculture, the main principles of which are to employ more natural methods of growing crops and raising animals and to prohibit the use of synthetic chemicals (GMOs, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.). Organic agriculture is governed by a set of clearly defined standards. All organic farms in Quebec must be inspected each year by an accredited certifying body. Organic foods may appear more expensive, but their production requires particular methods, specifically surrounding the care and feeding of livestock, crops, and soil as well as the management of weeds, insect pests, and diseases.

While it is not bound by as restrictive a set of rules, conventional agriculture also includes a number of practices that address environmental concerns related to animal health. Conventional production also offers products at more competitive prices. With both types of agriculture, the public can rest assured that they have access to healthy, quality foods that have been produced with sustainability in mind. The two approaches, with their distinctive characteristics, address the diverse needs of consumers.

For further information on organic agriculture and products, see the file below.


Directory of Québec Certified Organic Products



DOCUMENT Organic agriculture
Document Agriculture biologique – Fiche internet

Are there rules in place to ensure that farm animals are treated properly?

In Quebec, the Animal Health Protection Act specifies the conditions and basic care that animals must receive to ensure their well-being and safety. Farmers must also abide by federal legislation pertaining to the transportation of animals.

Livestock farmers care about their animals’ health and well-being. Their animals are their most valued asset, and they have every reason to care for them properly. Moreover, most national livestock farmers’ associations (pork, poultry, dairy and beef cattle, egg producers) have developed codes of best practices in collaboration with the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). These codes govern the conditions in which the animals are raised and are based on the latest scientific information regarding the best care for animals. It is important to note that the NFACC brings many concerned stakeholders to the same table, including livestock farmers’ associations, veterinarians, humane societies, and consumers. Canadian codes of good practice on animal welfare stack up favourably against those of other countries.

For further information on animal welfare, see the file below.

Also, here’s a list of codes of practice:

National Farm Animal Care Council

Fédération des producteurs de bovins du Québec

Egg Farmers of Canada

Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle

Les Éleveurs de porcs du Québec

Les Éleveurs de volailles du Québec


DOCUMENT Animal welfare (web document)
Document Bien-être des animaux – L’Union des producteurs agricoles – 17-09-2015

Do farmers have to belong to the UPA?

Farmers are under no legal obligation join the UPA. Membership has always been voluntary. Also, the claim that there is a “farm union monopoly” in Quebec is false. Rather, the Farm Producers Act stipulates that only one union organization is accredited to represent Quebec farmers and collect mandatory dues.

To obtain this status, an association must demonstrate to the Régie des marchés agricoles et alimentaires du Québec (RMAAQ) that it is representative of all producers and that it fulfils the duties incumbent upon it. Beginning in 1972, and every year thereafter, only the UPA has been able to demonstrate this. Another organization could become the certified association if it demonstrated this representativeness.

It is worth noting that the UPA is legally required to represent all Quebec farmers—members and non-members—regardless of the size of their business, their type of production, or their region. A number of producers’ groups (12 regional federations and 26 production types) are affiliated with the UPA, and over 90% of Quebec farmers are members.

For further information on the certified organization, see the file below.

DOCUMENT Certified association (web document)


Do farmers use genetically modified (GM) seed?

Over the past several years, we have seen an increase in the use of biotechnologies in agriculture all over the world. One of the reasons for this trend is the potential that these biotechnologies offer for increasing agricultural production while reducing the use of pesticides. We see this trend in Quebec as well, although the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is less widespread here than in the United States. Current market considerations dictate that the main GM crops produced in Quebec (corn, soy, and canola) are for animal consumption. The products derived from these crops (oils, flours, starches, etc.) may still be found in foods intended for human consumption. These do not necessarily contain traces of GMOs.

Whether one is for or against GMOs, the UPA recognizes consumers’ fundamental right to information on the nature of the products they purchase and supports mandatory labelling, provided that the costs are not borne by farmers and the same labelling standards also apply to imported products.

For further information on GMOs, see the file below.


DOCUMENT Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) – (web document)


Can you produce milk in Canada without quota?

No. Dairy producers must have authorization for every litre of milk they sell to processors. This authorization, called quota, is unique to the supply management system, which ensures efficiency in product marketing and regulation in market development. Supply management is a collective marketing tool that prevents surpluses and shortages, thus ensuring a stable and reasonable price for farmers and consumers alike. Thanks to the quota system, the total amount of milk produced in Canada exactly matches the amount consumed by Canadians.

The quota system primarily serves as an economic market regulation tool, balancing supply against demand and granting fair access to markets. The implementation of the quota system is a democratic decision on the part of the producers concerned and cannot be imposed without the consultation or decision of a majority of producers.

For further information on collective marketing, see the file below or check out these videos on supply management.

Also, see links below:

Supply Management and collective marketing

Market Sharing Quota

GO5 Québec – Supply Management

The Truth About Supply Management

DOCUMENT Collective marketing (web document)