China’s crackdown on Canadian canola expands as 2nd company, Viterra, has licence revoked

A second Canadian company has had its licence to sell canola to China revoked as a crackdown continues on one of the most Canadian crops in the world.

The latest move involves Regina-based Viterra Inc., Reuters and Bloomberg reported Tuesday. The company, formed out of the merger of the former farming collective Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, is a major handler of canola.

Canadian company Richardson International was hit by a similar ban earlier this month when the Chinese government declared it had found dangerous pests such as fungus in the company’s canola, so it halted all shipments.

Last week, the Canola Council of Canada announced orders from China had mysteriously dried up across a number of canola sellers.

China’s ban of Viterra is effective immediately.

In justifying the move, Chinese customs officials said the ports of Dalian and Nanning had detected the same pests in Viterra’s canola.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment by CBC News.

The unexpected canola conflagration comes against the backdrop of a roiling diplomatic dispute between the two countries, seemingly sparked by the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver last year, at the request of American authorities.

Canada exports more canola than anyone else, and China is a major customer. (Scott Galley/CBC)

China has strongly objected to Meng’s arrest, and ratcheted up pressure on Canada to undo that move. The country has detained two Canadian businessmen alleging espionage, and now seems to be picking a fight over canola — a crop literally named after Canada.

Canola is a type of rapeseed that has a distinctive yellow flower and was invented by Canadian researchers in the 1970s. The seeds can be crushed into an edible oil, and discarded husks also make for an excellent animal feed.

Canada exports more canola than anyone else in the world. Last year, about 40 per cent of its seed exports went to China, worth roughly $2.7 billion.

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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