Canadians need affordable, nutritious food. Internationally priced poultry meats and eggs, whether from USA, Chile, or elsewhere is 200% to 300% cheaper than the gouging prices charged by Canada's #ChickenMafia.
Under General Import Permit #2 in effect since Dec. 29, 1994 Canadians have been able to import up to 10 kg. per person of poultry meats into Canada for their personal or household use.
For the average family of 4 (two adults, 2 kids), they would therefore be able to import 40 kg. per trip. Bring along Gran and Grandpa, and other members of the extended family, and you can get even more.
Let's assume the following:
- You own a 7-seat minivan.
- You, like 75% of all other Canadians live within 100 miles (161 km.) from the nearest US-Canadian border.
- We will assume you live 80 km. from the border, and the US grocery store is 5 km. from the border.
- For gasoline, oil, tire wear, odometer km. logged (high km. vehicles are ~ $0.03/km less trade-in value), insurance, maintenance, and depreciation, it costs you $0.50 per km. to drive your vehicle.
- It costs $3.25 per crossing to go across the border (bridge or tunnel).
- If you were so foolish to do so, you could buy chicken in Canada at 300% the cost of same or similar chicken in the USA (ie. $1.99/lb in USA, $5.97/lb in Canada, or $4.38/kg US and $13.13/kg in Canada).
|Figure 1: Savings from buying chicken in USA.|
- With seven people in your van, all buying the maximum tariff-free chicken allowed (10 kg./person), you would have a total savings of $563.92 per chicken road trip, or $80.56 per person traveling.
- If you went alone (6 empty seats in your mini-van, you'd save $38.56 after paying for your trip.
- If you lived within 81.5 km of the US border (163 km round trip), one person driving to the US to buy chicken would break even. You'd save money if you live closer than 163 km. round trip
- If you had 7 people in your mini-van, you could travel up to 1,214 km round trip to the border, buy chicken, and break even on the deal. If you are closer than 607 km from the border (1,214 km round trip), you will save money.
- If you go to the US to buy chicken, you might as well fill up on eggs, turkey, beef, pork, cheese, milk, gasoline, and whatever else your heart desires. Some grocery items may have tariff duty at the border. General tariff categories such as "groceries" have higher tariff rate charges than the specific items in the grocery bag (eg. eggs, celery, eggs, etc.), so it is best to itemize at the border when you declare to Canada Customs.
- Assuming 0.125 kg of chicken meat per meal serving per person, 10 kg would last 80 meals. If you were buying whole chickens, allowing 30% for bone, and 0.125 kg. of meat per person per meal, the 10 kg. of chicken would last you 56 days. Therefore, you'd have to make a run for the border every 2 months.
- A charter bus driver can drive for 13 hrs per day, and be on-duty for a maximum of 16 hrs. Assuming 80 km/hr average speed made good, then 6.5 hrs one-way driving for 13 hrs total driving time, the bus could leave and return in the same day for up to 520 km. one way from the border, which is within the economic distance for more than 75% of Canada's population.
- A bus charter company near me charges $2.80 per km traveled for a luxury highway coach that seats 56 people ( bus includes on-board washroom, heat, air conditioning, DVD player, TV screens, reclining seats, and driver). That gives you a travel cost of $0.05 per km per person, which is 30% cheaper than a 7-passenger mini-van running full.
- If 56 people take a bus, you can travel 873 km. one way (1,746 km. round trip) to get to the border and break even with the savings from US chicken purchases. If you're closer than 873 km to the border, you will save money by riding the Chicken Run bus.
To further facilitate your calculations, you can download the Excel spreadsheet to help you do the calculations: Excel Chicken Run Costing Spreadsheet
If we do bus trips which are open to the public, we'd have to get a license through TICO in Ontario as a travel agency. If we only allow SFPFC members to board our Chicken Run bus trips, we can avoid that costly and bureaucratic step. Under TICO's Ontario Regulation 26/05, the trips will have to be run for educational, cultural, religious or athletic purposes and the travel services are provided for those purposes. Laws in other Provinces may be different.
All we need is one interested person in each area of Canada to pass the word, get SFPFC members signed up and paid in advance, then schedule the bus to the nearest US border crossing. You may want to phone ahead to the various grocery stores on the US side to see who is willing to put on specials for the 56 Canadian grocery shoppers who are coming to town.
If you let me know where you are, and when your bus is scheduled, I will advertise it through this Blog and Google Maps. That way, everybody can see the next or nearest Chicken Run bus to them. If they are interested, they can join the party. During the bus ride, you can do a short presentation on SFPFC and our campaign to help all Canadians with affordable food.
If you organize a Chicken Run, we ask you to collect the following stats on each Chicken Run trip, and forward us a copy of the data:
- Date of trip
- number of people riding the Chicken Run bus
- the prices $/kg you actually paid for the various cuts of chicken
- if available, the equivalent Canadian prices you would have had to pay if you didn't do a Chicken Run
- Aggregate total $ spent by everyone, and if possible, the individual expenditures for each person
Let us know how you make out on this idea with your family, friends, and community.