Top court declines to hear Quebec maple syrup case

Court's recent decision leaves maple producer with a 'heavy heart'

The Supreme Court has refused to hear two appeals from opponents of Quebec's maple syrup rules and allowed the system which controls production in the province to continue.

Angele Grenier, a maple producer in Sainte-Clotilde-de-Beauce, says she has a "heavy heart" after hearing the high court's decision.

The defeat is bitter for the farmer, who has been fighting for years in court to sell her maple syrup to anyone she wants.

She has accused The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers of being a "monopoly" that could result in Quebec losing its 70% market share to Ontario, New Brunswick and the U.S.

The federation is a marketing board that enforces quotas on maple syrup production. It introduced its system in the early 2000s to limit excess production, with the goal of smoothing out annual variations in the syrup harvest, thus stabilizing the price for the province’s 13,500 sap farmers. Over the years, however, producers say the quotas have become too restrictive for them to profit from rising demand.

Paul Rouillard, acting director of the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, says it will now push to have the critics work within the system.

He says it is democratic institution that represents 7,300 maple syrup companies who vote on collective marketing decisions.

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