Legal Raw Milk Canada

$67,710 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 137 people in 8 months
Help us defend constitutional rights of raw milk consumers in Canada!

Raw milk consumers across Canada have spent decades peacefully trying to obtain raw milk from local farmers despite the threat of harassment from the authorities. Finally, some of us have stepped forward to tell the courts that our constitutional rights are being violated by laws restricting access to raw milk – a food that is perfectly legal to consume in Canada.

A January 2018 injunction against anyone “selling, delivering or distributing” raw milk in Ontario was the last straw, criminalizing peaceful citizens who want access to this safe, unprocessed food. So, with the encouragement of leaders from several cow-share communities in southwestern Ontario – we’ve mobilized!

We found a highly experienced lawyer to represent us on a partly pro bono basis, and his legal team has been building our case at lightning speed. In early February they served a Notice of Application against the Attorneys General of Ontario and Canada, on our behalf – 19 raw milk consumers and two raw milk producers, whose freedom of conscience or religion, and security of person, are being violated (under sections 2 and 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms).

All 21 of us applicants made this commitment despite financial risk, the ordeal of being cross-examined, and fear of the unknown consequences of taking on the Government. We did this not only based on our personal conviction, but on behalf of our raw milk communities and other consumers across Canada, who all stand to benefit from this constitutional challenge.

Please help us pay the legal bills: $100,000 during the next ten months. (Regardless of which side wins at the Ontario Superior Court, the decision could be appealed and ultimately the case may be decided by the Supreme Court of Canada. So next year, unless the case is settled, we will have to raise money for the next round.)

Does $100,000 seem like a lot of money to you? Well, it’s $100 each, from 1,000 people who want the right to consume raw milk without fear of prosecution. Your donation is an expression of solidarity with the 21 of us who put ourselves on the line for this cause.

Everyone has different financial circumstances, so we’re asking you to please give between $10 and $1,000, as you are able. We hope to show the broad base of support across Canada, and internationally too, for legal raw milk. Will you join in, with your donation?


Elisa Vander Hout of Glencolton Farm* and the other 20 applicants – Allyson, Amy, Beverley, Carol, Eleanor, Era, Eric, Frank, Jerry, John, Karen, Lanny, Liliana, Maria, Maria-Theresia, Mascha, Merle, Paul, Sanda, and Werner

* The farmers of Glencolton have been subject to decades of harassment and prosecution for following their conscience in providing raw milk from their herd of heritage-breed Canadiennes, to cow-share members who need it. Elisa Vander Hout is one of the two raw milk producers among the 21 applicants in this constitutional challenge; the other producer is Paul Noble of Elbonshady Farm.
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Further to the previous update, regarding the milk marketing board (Dairy Farmers of Ontario)’s motion to join the constitutional case as a full intervenor against us, an adjudicator has denied their motion. The ruling found that it would be inappropriate for this organization to participate as an adversary, given that it may in future be responsible for overseeing the legal sale and distribution of raw milk in Ontario. The ruling is good news for us, as the participation of the marketing board would greatly increase the volume of evidence introduced, i.e, the length and cost of the proceedings. We are grateful to our legal team for representing our interests so diligently, and successfully!
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As noted earlier, we have been waiting since April for the government to file their responding evidence in our constitutional challenge – due in November. Now the DFO (Dairy Farmers of Ontario, formerly the Milk Marketing Board) is seeking to intervene. Although the DFO’s commercial interest is not relevant to the constitutional question of whether our Charter rights are being violated by the prohibition on accessing raw milk, we agreed to their participation on a “friend of the court” basis. The DFO rejected our offer and has embarked on a costly fight to gain full intervenor status. If they succeed, the DFO’s involvement will substantially increase administrative complexity (i.e., our costs) in the court process from this point forward, and likely the number of months it will take to conclude it. A judge will hear arguments on the DFO’s motion later this month.

As always, we acknowledge with gratitude the continuing stream of contributions from individuals and herdshare communities toward our legal costs. Our deeply committed legal team has already logged substantial pro bono hours on our behalf, and has been patient as we continue fundraising to pay their reduced fee.
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Our court case is still moving along but we are in waiting mode for a few more months, as a judge has given the government lawyers a November 30 deadline to file their responding evidence. There will be much more to report on after that. In the meantime, financial contributions are deeply appreciated – nothing has changed in the fundamentals of the case, and we are determined as ever to persevere. The slow pace is unfortunately just part of the process.
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Our lawyers filed all our evidence in April, and it is an impressive package of material indeed. We were hoping that this month’s update would be to announce the schedule for remaining steps in the process, leading up to a court date for the hearing of our application. Instead, opposing counsel have been dragging their heels and it will be early June before we can get in front of an administrative judge merely to decide on a schedule. We will keep you posted.
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$67,710 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 137 people in 8 months
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6 days ago
Fareed Kuhafa
8 days ago
Diana Thiriar
15 days ago
Herdshare in South Western Ontario
15 days ago (Offline Donation)
Deborah Kohn
23 days ago
Cowshare in South Western Ontario
24 days ago (Offline Donation)
Our Farm, OurFood Co-operative
1 month ago (Offline Donation)
1 month ago
Cecily Porter
2 months ago
Cow Share in South Western Ontario
2 months ago (Offline Donation)
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