The provincial government is giving agricultural producers more say in choosing whether check-offs should remain mandatory.

Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier has introduced Bill 9, which allows commissions to decide on their own whether the service charges should be refunded.

"In 2009 and the previous government amended MAPA (the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act) to make all service charges refundable for any producer members who request refunds," he says. "This forced a wide range of agriculture commissions into all adopting the same model for their check-offs. We know a one size fits all approach doesn't make sense in today diverse agriculture industry."

Alberta was the only jurisdiction in Canada with mandatory refundable service charges.

The money was used by the commissions to fund their operations as well as activities that benefit broader agriculture activities, like industry research, product marketing and promotion and trade missions to build and maintain market access.

Carlier says commissions will have to hold plebiscites to determine which way to go in the future but it's no longer being dictated by the government.

Agricultural commissions in Alberta
Alberta Barley Commission 
Alberta Beef Producers 
Alberta Beekeepers Commission 
Alberta Canola Producers Commission 
Alberta Elk Commission 
Alberta Lamb Producers 
Alberta Oat Growers Commission 
Alberta Peace Region Forage Seed Commission 
Alberta Pork Producers Development Commission 
Alberta Pulse Growers Commission 
Alberta Wheat Commission 
Alfalfa Seed Commission 
Potato Growers of Alberta