A Canadian importer and distributor of fresh fruits and vegetables has been dropped from the Fruit & Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corp. for not paying money owed in an arbitration judgment.

Ottawa-based DRC terminated the membership of Bolton, Canada-based Fresh First Produce Inc. Oct. 29, said Fred Webber, the organization’s vice president of trading assistance.

An arbitrator had ordered Fresh First to pay $46,910 Canadian dollars and $2,500 U.S. dollars to settle disputes. Webber did not know how long Fresh First had been given to pay its debts. Companies are typically given 30 days, he said.

Fresh First is still obligated to settle disputes under the organization’s rules if another member files a claim against the company within nine months.

If they are not paid through an arbitration ruling, DRC members can seek damages through the courts, Webber said.

“Our awards are enforceable in the U.S. and Canada,” he said. “There are very limited grounds of appeal for arbitration awards.”

It is very rare, Webber said, for DRC members not to pay arbitration awards. He put the percentage of judgments paid in the “high 90s.”

Canadian distributor booted from DRC for non-payment