By Connor Lynch
OTTAWA — A Quebec maple syrup producer has lost an ongoing legal battle over the province’s control of syrup supplies.
The Supreme Court of Canada announced on June 8 that it will not hear two appeals from Angèle Grenier, a maple syrup producer who runs an operation just south of Quebec City.
She’s facing $300,000 in fines from the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, in addition to the $150,000 she’s spent in legal fees.
Quebec’s maple syrup system controls production, and producers only get paid for the syrup they produce once the federation sells it, which can take years.
Rather than wait, Grenier sold outside the quota system to a buyer in New Brunswick for 12 years. She lost several legal battles at the Quebec agricultural marketing board, in the courts, and in the Quebec Court of Appeals.
The acting executive director of the federation, Paul Rouillard, told the Financial Post that the decision of the Supreme Court “doesn’t mean we are going to be mean to Madame Grenier.” Over the last two years, 170 producers have settled with the Federation in disputes, he said. “We will offer her the same kind of deal as the others.”
Quebec had record production this year, producing 152 million lb. of syrup, and upped its quota as well, added five million taps onto the 43 million it allowed previously. But the province’s market share has been slipping in recent years. Quebec’s share of global output of maple syrup was 82 per cent in 2003. By 2016, that had fallen to 71 per cent.
Richard Vallieres, a buyer for stolen maple syrup, was sentenced in April this year for his part in the theft of $18.8 million worth of maple syrup in 2012. He was sentenced to eight years imprisonment, given a $9.4 million dollar fine, and will spend an additional 10 years behind bars if he doesn’t pay the fine within 10 years.