Ensuring Affordable Access to Kosher Products
Access to kosher products is a fundamental aspect of Jewish life in Canada, affecting individuals, families, institutions and communities.

Key Points

  • The Jewish community has faced increasing challenges in preserving access to and fair market price for kosher food products.
  • Access to kosher products is a fundamental aspect of Jewish life in Canada, affecting individuals, families, institutions and communities.
  • A permanent remedy must be found to restore stability to the supply of kosher chicken, enhancing accessibility and affordability for consumers.
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The Jewish community has faced increasing challenges in preserving access to and fair market price for kosher food products. In 2012, CIJA successfully intervened to secure a special exemption from Canada’s dairy tariff system for Cholov Yisroel cheese imports, preventing a substantial price increase for consumers across Canada that would have impacted families, caterers, and restaurants.

CIJA also successfully intervened to prevent the Canadian Food Inspection Agency from introducing uniform ‘stun’ regulations that would prevent kosher slaughter. The proposed regulatory changes were abandoned, averting major price increases and supply issues that would have accompanied the end of domestic kosher meat production.

In May 2013, Ontario’s only kosher chicken processor ceased operation. A Montreal supplier has met substantial demand throughout Ontario and Manitoba. However, decreased and unsteady quality issues, variety of product and supply, and increased delivery distances have led to an escalation in the costs borne by consumers. For many families, this is a basic pocketbook issue. A permanent remedy must be found to restore stability to the supply of kosher chicken, enhancing accessibility and affordability for consumers.

CIJA is working to facilitate a solution based on a partnership between the Chicken Farmers of Ontario, the Kashruth Council of Ontario (COR), and interests in the private sector with experience in kosher meat products. Our particular focus is on navigating the regulatory challenges and serving as a liaison with appropriate federal government officials, who have been keen to resolve this situation.

Canadian officials have been exceptionally responsive, but the negative experiences of Jewish communities in other countries indicate a need for our constant and attentive engagement. We look forward to working with all parties to ensure Jewish life continues to thrive in Canada with affordable kosher products available for our families and communities.

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