Jennifer Hayes is Hired as First Female Chairperson within the Canadian Dairy Commission - Cowsmo

Jennifer Hayes is Hired as First Female Chairperson within the Canadian Dairy Commission

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has hired from within the Canadian Dairy Commission to get it a new chairperson.

Jennifer Hays is the first female chairperson in the CDC’s commissions 56-year history. ©CDC

Bibeau on Tuesday announced Quebec dairy farmer Jennifer Hayes as the CDC’s new chair for a four-year term starting Dec. 23, 2021.

Hayes, who had served as commissioner on the CDC’s three-person board since January 2017, is the first female chairperson in the commission’s 56-year history, Bibeau noted.

Active in Quebec’s Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), Hayes comes to the role with “extensive governance experience,” Bibeau said.

Bibeau added she’s “confident that (Hayes) will continue to be an asset to the commission and help the industry remain competitive, productive and innovative.”

Hayes co-owns PineCrest Farms, a dairy and beef operation on Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula at Shigawake, about 150 km east of Campbellton, N.B.

As CDC chairperson, she replaces Bob Ingratta, a former British Columbia Milk Marketing Board CEO whose two-year term on the national commission expired Dec. 16.

Hayes’ appointment follows recommendations made in a special report from the federal auditor general’s office in March 2021. It called on the CDC board to keep in touch with the ag minister’s office on a “timely basis” to make sure the three-member commission keeps a full complement at the board table.

With Ingratta out and Hayes now promoted, the commission’s only other current board member is its CEO, former Agropur president Serge Riendeau — who Bibeau re-appointed last April for an additional one-year term ending in May 2022.

The auditor general’s report found no board meetings had to be cancelled or any decisions left unresolved, but having one empty chair at a three-member board table nevertheless “poses a significant risk that the board would be unable to make decisions and operate effectively,” the report said.

That poses a risk particularly for the CDC. Its requirement for members to have “significant dairy industry experience,” with one member also serving as CEO, makes it somewhat more likely that a “real, potential or perceived” conflict of interest may pop up, requiring at least one member to abstain from voting on certain decisions.

At the time of the report’s release in March, the CDC said it agreed with the recommendation and was “already in communication” with Bibeau’s office — and with the section of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada responsible for such appointments — “especially as the term of one of the board members is almost over.”

All that said, the auditor general’s report also noted maintaining a full slate of members is a job “outside the corporation’s control” because those appointments are made by the federal Governor in Council — that is, by Canada’s governor general on the advice of the federal cabinet.

Last April, when announcing Riendeau’s extension as CEO, Bibeau said the federal government had launched appointment processes for a new full-time CEO and new part-time chairperson for the CDC.


Source: Ag Canada


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