Supreme Court denies appeal from Nadeau
By Kristy Nudds
December 22, 2011 – The Supreme Court of Canada has denied Nadeau Ferme Avicole Limitée’s (Nadeau Poultry Farm Ltd.) right to appeal a decision from a lower court ruling which favoured its rival, Groupe Westco.
Nadeau (owned by Ontario-based Maple Lodge) began its fight with Groupe Westco in 2008, when nearly 80 per cent of it’s chicken supply was redirected to a plant in Quebec. Groupe Westco, which is comprised of several poultry farmers in N.B., was Nadeau’s biggest supplier and decided to ship it’s chickens to a processing plant owned by Olymel l.p. in Quebec instead of to the Nadeau plant, located in St. Francois de Madawaska.
Groupe Westco subsequently formed a partnership with Olymel l.p. and is currently building a new processing plant in Clair, N.B., not far from Nadeau’s plant. Birds from the partnership are marketed under the brand name Sunnymel.
Nadeau argued that under the supply management system in Canada, the chickens should remain in N.B. for processing, and the N.B. government agreed and tried to amend the Natural Products Act in that province with Bill 81. However, N.B. Justice Lucie LaVigne of the Court of Queen’s Bench dismissed the Bill, saying the province didn’t have jurisdiction.
Nadeau then applied with a federal Competition Tribunal to prevent Groupe Westco from shipping it’s birds to Quebec. This application was rejected.
Nadeau then took its complaint to the New Brunswick Court of Appeal, which ruled that Groupe Westo had the right to have it’s birds processed in Quebec.
The Supreme Court of Canada appeal was Nadeau’s final option, ending a nearly four-year long battle over chicken in N.B. by Ontario and Quebec-based companies.
Earlier this month, Nadeau announced that it was cutting 25 per cent of it’s workforce. In September 2009, the company laid-off 175 workers, which was nearly half of its workforce at the time.
Nadeau has been processing some chickens from Nova Scotia, however this supply will end when a new processing plant opens near Kentville in June 2012. This new plant is joint venture between N.S. poultry farmers and Maple Lodge, Nadeau’s parent company.