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B’nai Brith Canada Commends Government for Pressuring Agency to Comply with Canadian Wine Regulations

Israeli wine

July 13, 2017

By Marty York
Chief Media Officer
B’nai Brith Canada

B’nai Brith Canada is pleased to announce that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has rescinded its disturbing and discriminatory decision to remove wines from two Israeli companies – Shiloh and Psagot – from store shelves.

While advocating on behalf of the grassroots Jewish community, B’nai Brith exclusively revealed  Wednesday night that it expected the CFIA ruling to be corrected in short order.

In a statement issued less than 24 hours later, the CFIA said it “regrets the outcome of the wine-labelling assessment which led to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s (LCBO) response regarding products from two wineries labelled as ‘Product of Israel.’ In our assessment, we did not fully consider the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA). Further clarification of the CIFTA (Article 1.4.1b) indicates that these wines adhere to the Agreement and therefore we can confirm that the products in question can be sold as currently labelled.” 

The statement added: “The CFIA will be following up with the LCBO to correct our original response.”

“We thank the Government of Canada for responding so quickly to the legitimate concerns of the Jewish community and all concerned Canadians,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “We will continue to make inquiries about the origin of this travesty,  to ensure that nothing like ever happens again. B’nai Brith will always relentlessly advocate for our community.”

Mostyn said York Centre MP Michael Levitt should be specifically lauded for his quick work and leadership behind the scenes to help resolve this issue. In a statement, Levitt said: “I was shocked and deeply concerned (about). . .the discontinuation of the sale of products from two Israeli wineries as a result of a notice issued by the CFIA. This action was completely at odds with both the Government’s long-standing close relationship with the State of Israel and our focus on broadening the Canada-Israel trade relationship, such as the upcoming ratification of an expanded Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement.”

Levitt added that he will be travelling to Israel later this month and looks forward “to connecting with both wineries to demonstrate my support.”

“Since calling on Canadians from coast to coast to purchase Israeli wine,” Mostyn said, “we’ve been simply overwhelmed by positive responses from members of the community. In celebration of the CFIA’s apology for its disturbing decision, we ask all Canadians, in every province and territory, to head to your local liquor retailer and order products from the Shiloh and Psagot Wineries. These Israeli wine producers especially deserve all of our support at this time.”