Better know a Canadian institution: the Canadian Wheat Board

The Canadian Wheat Board was set up as a Crown Corporation in 1935 as a way to help grain farmers get a better deal when selling wheat during the Great Depression. The way it worked was that farmers would sell their grain to the Wheat Board, which sold it on to other grain merchants; since there were fewer competitors on the market, the Wheat Board could demand a higher price for grains, and that money was passed on to farmers.

Participation in the Wheat Board was originally voluntary, but it was made mandatory for all growers of wheat, barley and oats in 1943 to streamline production in World War II, giving the Wheat Board a monopsony (like a monopoly, except with buying instead of selling). The CWB lost its purview over grains sold for animal feed in the 1970s and 1980s, and its monopsony on oats was cancelled in 1989. It switched from a Crown Corporation to a public-private agency in 1998.

The Wheat Board was further disestablished under the Harper government; it became a marketing board when its last monopsonies over human-grade wheat and barley were repealed in 2012, and is mandated by law to be fully privatized by 2016, when it will become a grain merchant.

The Chairmen (before 1998) and Presidents (after 1998) of the Canadian Wheat Board have been:

John I. McFarland, July-October 1935.
James R. Murray, 1935-37.
George Harold McIvor, 1937-58.
William Craig McNamara, 1958-70.
Garson N. Vogel, 1970-77.
William Esmond Jarvis, 1977-90.
Lorne F. Hehn, 1990-98.
Greg S. Arason, 1998-2002.
Adrian C. Measner, 2002-06.
Greg S. Arason (acting), 2006-08.
Ian White, 2008-now.


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