Agro-Farma wins Greek yogurt supply management battle in Federal Court

31 July 2012

On July 31, 2012, the Federal Court of Canada released its reasons for judgment and judgment in a high profile dispute between Ultima Foods Inc., Agropur Coopérative and Danone Inc. as applicants, and the Attorney General of Canada, Minister of International Trade and Agro-Farma Canada, Inc. as respondents.

Agro-Farma Canada Inc., the Canadian affiliate of American dairy processor Agro-Farma Inc., produces Chobani Greek yogurt and has marketed it in Toronto since November 2011. The Minister of International Trade had issued import permits allowing Agro-Farma to test market Chobani in Canada. The applicants contended that the Minister had erred because the imports threatened Canada’s supply management system, and argued that the Court should quash his decision on that basis and other procedural grounds.

In a significant victory for Agro-Farma Canada, Madam Justice Sandra Simpson concluded that the permits would not harm supply management in the long term. She also held that the applicants lacked standing to bring the challenge because the permits did not directly affect the applicants’ legal rights or obligations in any way and there was no evidence of any loss to their market share or revenues during the test market period. Justice Simpson also ordered the applicants to pay legal costs to Agro-Farma Canada.

Robert Armstrong, Scott Kugler and Paul Seaman of Gowlings appeared in court for Agro-Farma Canada in these proceedings, with support from Alison McLean, Evan Atwood, Sirpal Randhawa and Barry Stork.


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