For immediate release
GUELPH ON [November 20, 2023] – Leaders from Ontario farm organizations are heading to Ottawa in support of swift passage of Bill C-234 currently before the Senate. The legislation would provide a carbon tax exemption for Canadian farmers heating barns, greenhouses and food-growing structures, and drying grain.
The federal fuel surcharge has already placed an incredible burden on farmers that will only become more significant as carbon tax rates continue to increase. This has far-reaching effects on Canadian farm businesses, with deep and long-term negative impacts on Canadian food security and affordability, and the sustainability of farms and food producers.
“As this Bill goes to a final vote, this united group of farm organizations is sending a strong, direct message to Senators, the federal government, the farm members we represent and Canadians nation-wide that Bill C-234 is critically important to farmers from a wide range of sectors,” says Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) President Peggy Brekveld. “We appreciate the support from Senators, elected officials, government members and industry partners who have passionately taken up the charge to be our voice in Ottawa on this issue in recent months.”
Bill C-234 is a private member’s bill introduced by Huron-Bruce MP Ben Lobb to address an oversight in the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act of 2018. That Act placed a regulatory charge on fossil fuels like gasoline and natural gas to encourage industries to become more efficient and use cleaner technologies.
However, the Act didn’t acknowledge that those more efficient and cleaner technologies are not yet commercially viable options for farmers and farm businesses and that more research and time is need for alternative technologies to be scaled up and readily available to farmers at a reasonable price.
The farm organization delegation includes representatives from Beef Farmers of Ontario, Mushrooms Canada, Ontario Broiler Chicken Hatching Egg Producers Association, Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers’ Association, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, Ontario Pork and Veal Farmers of Ontario.
“Ontario Pork has long advocated for on-farm fuels used in agricultural production to be exempt from carbon tax policies,” says John DeBruyn, Chair of Ontario Pork. “Given that there are currently no viable replacements for fossil fuels in agricultural production, it has amounted to an unfair cost burden to farmers, adding costs and lowering incomes, without reducing emissions, as well as making the pork sector less competitive on the world market.”
“Natural gas is a necessary input required to produce fresh, nutritious, and affordable vegetables in greenhouses all year long. The importance of a full exemption from carbon tax for growers cannot be understated as our family farms continue to be penalized for their efforts in strengthening the domestic food production system to ensure our shelves remain stocked and reduce the risk of increasing food prices,” says George Gilvesy, Chair of the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers. “An exemption from this tax for growers will enable additional investment in the sector to enhance cutting-edge, innovative, sustainable technologies so that we can remain competitive.”
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province and serving as the leading advocate and strongest voice of Ontario’s farmers.
Beef Farmers of Ontario advocates in the areas of sustainability, animal health and care, environment, food safety, and domestic and export market development.
Mushrooms Canada is a voluntary, non-profit organization founded in 1955. Our members are dedicated to the production and marketing of fresh mushrooms in Canada.
The Ontario Broiler Chicken Hatching Egg Producers Association was incorporated under the Corporations Act July 10, 1981, and represents the broiler chicken hatching egg producers of Ontario.
The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association is the voice of Ontario’s fruit and vegetable producers on issues affecting the horticulture sector.
The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers represent more than 170 greenhouse operators growing over 3,800 acres of fresh and nutritious peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
Ontario Pork is the voice of the province’s 997 pork farmers and is committed to sustainable growth in the pork sector, delivering government representation, research investment, and industry improvements in areas including animal care and environmental sustainability.
Veal Farmers of Ontario is a farmer-run organization that represents the interests of Ontario’s veal farmers, providing leadership to promote industry growth and viability through collaboration, innovation, marketing, and education.
For more information:
LeaAnne Wurmli, Beef Farmers of Ontario
Ryan Koeslag, Mushrooms Canada
519-829-4125 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tyler Brooks, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883 ext. 218 or email@example.com
Alison Robertson, Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers’ Association
519-827-5716 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Lee, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers
Jennifer Haley, Veal Farmers of Ontario
(519) 824-2942 or email@example.com