by BETTER FARMING STAFF
The Ontario Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal has turned down a motion by the tobacco board to quash a hearing concerning an appeal by Woodbury Leaf Inc. and Joseph Allan Slusarczyk Jr. of Burford and Joshua Slusarczyk, of Harley, Ontario. The Slusarczyks and Woodbury are appealing the tobacco board’s rejection of their requests to rescind quota transactions and change their applications under the Tobacco Transition Program.
According to the Tribunal’s Feb. 10 decision, Joseph Jr. and Joshua had wanted to transfer their quota to Woodbury Leaf so they could become eligible to farm tobacco under the new system. They claim “constant changes in the tobacco board's policy coupled with the manner in which information was distributed to the growers,” led them to believe they could not do this, so they rescinded the transfer. When they learned their transfers would not affect their eligibility, they applied to the Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers' Marketing Board to grant them. The board denied the request and the group filed an appeal with the Tribunal.
In its motion to quash the appeal, the tobacco board asserted that the Tribunal lacked jurisdiction to conduct a hearing or grant relief because the situation related to an agreement between the board and the federal government. The board also contended that the Tribunal didn’t have the authority under the Farm Products Marketing Act to grant the applicants relief.
The Tribunal asserted it does have jurisdiction. Not all of the legislation that dismantled the province’s quota marketing system was in place by the time the transfer request was filed and the board still had some of its quota production and marketing powers. And if the board had the power then, the Tribunal has the power now, the decision states.
No date has been set for the hearing. BF