Winnipeg, MB — Canada's recently published Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) has potential to increase long-term domestic demand for Canadian canola as a feedstock for diesel-based biofuels, while lessening farmers' reliance on export markets.
"With the CFS, biofuels are expected to play a major role in helping Canada achieve its clean energy targets," says Steve Pratte, Policy Manager at Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA). "This has the potential to create domestic demand for canola equivalent to the export market demand of Japan or possibly even greater."
The proposed CFS ensures that the current level of diesel biofuel demand is maintained by continuing the 2% federal mandate but offers opportunity for that demand to increase significantly by 2030. "A minimum content requirement is one element we're pleased to see in the proposed regulations as it provides a level of baseline stability, while the overall structure of the CFS provides significant upside for increased diesel biofuel use in Canada", says Bernie McClean, Chair of CCGA. "This not only supports domestic demand for the canola grown on our farms, but also encourages investment in local processing of the crop."
One area of concern for farmers is how compliance with land use and biodiversity criteria will be achieved under the CFS. "The proposed CFS includes a partial form of an aggregate compliance approach that the canola industry has been recommending," says Pratte.
"Full aggregate compliance is a streamlined and data-driven way to satisfy specific policy goals of government while effectively recognizing the sustainable land use practices of Canadian agriculture, without the need for farm-by-farm documentation and reporting," says Pratte. It also better aligns with Canada's international trade goals and obligations, especially with the United States, as there has been a free-flow of agricultural biofuel feedstocks between the two countries under this approach for years.
"We see some positive steps forward in the proposed CFS but there are areas that still require clarification and more work," says McClean. An area of particular concern for CCGA is further understanding the role of "verification and certification" of the feedstock and how this will directly impact farmers. "We're seeking clarification on this and will be preparing a substantive submission in response to the formal consultation process for the regulations," says Pratte.
The period to comment on the proposed Clean Fuel Standard regulations closes March 4.
CCGA represents canola farmers on national and international issues, policies and programs that impact farm profitability, and has been administrator of the Government of Canada's Advance Payments Program since 1984.
Kelly Green, Director of Communications