Issue: To date, over 40 ranchers in Alberta and Saskatchewan have been impacted by a regional bovine tuberculosis (TB) quarantine, which has been financially devastating. In fact, the government of Alberta has declared the situation a disaster due to the economic loss and hardship to impacted ranchers.
- December, 2016: CFIB wrote to the federal government, Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) and Farm Credit Canada (FCC) to ensure our agri-business members’ concerns are heard and to appeal for flexibility in the financial arrangements of businesses that have been affected by these events outside their control (see letters linked in this post).
We outlined ways these institutions may be able to address the financial challenges facing producers who have either been impacted by having their herd destroyed or mandated to maintain a costly quarantine.
In particular, we asked the Minister of National Revenue to find practical solutions to ranchers’ concerns that they will be unduly taxed for the compensation they receive for destroyed animals. Details on compensation can be found in the attached letters.
Results to date:
- January 3, 2017: FCC responds to CFIB’s concerns. Michael Hoffort, President & CEO, FCC, thanked CFIB for sharing our members’ concerns.
The FCC said: “FCC has an unwavering commitment to the agriculture industry through all cycles. We understand how devastating this outbreak has been and we’ve taken a proactive approach to assisting our customers. We’ve already contacted all customers directly affected by the TB quarantine and are working closely with those individuals to help them successfully manage through a very difficult situation. The CFIB is a strong voice for the agri-business community across Canada and we welcome your insights.”
- January 5, 2017: CBA responds to CFIB and commits to work closely with its clients. Terry Campbell, President, CBA, responded to CFIB thanking us for highlighting our members’ concerns who have been impacted by the bovine TB quarantine and the resulting hardships they are facing.
The CBA assured CFIB: “I have taken the opportunity to share your letter with the CBA’s Agriculture Specialists Committee. Just as we have worked with our clients through adverse events in the past like BSE, I want to assure you that our banks will work closely with their clients who are facing difficulties due to the TB quarantine.
By working alongside their clients, our banks will provide the appropriate advice and financial expertise to the farmers in Saskatchewan and Alberta to effectively navigate economic difficulties rising from the TB quarantine.”
- February 28, 2017: Federal Minister of Agriculture responds to CFIB and recognizes our agri-business owners’ concerns raised.
The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, responded to CFIB thanking us for highlighting our agri-business members’ concerns.
The Minister assured CFIB: “It has been a difficult few months for everyone involved in this investigation, and I can assure you that the Government of Canada is working diligently on this matter.” In his response, the Minister outlined programs and funding available to impacted producers, including: the AgriRecovery Framework, CFIA compensation, AgriStability, and AgriInvest. The Minister continued, “A task team has also been struck to ensure that current and emerging issues are addressed and that programs are responding to producer needs.”
Regarding tax deferrals, the Minister said, “As the Income Tax Act falls within the responsibilities of the Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, I have taken the liberty of sending him a copy of our correspondence for his consideration.”
Next Steps: CFIB will continue to monitor the situation and raise our members’ concerns with officials.
If you have any questions or need to discuss this issue further, we encourage you to call CFIB’s Business Resources at 1-888-234-2232 or email [email protected]
Not a member of CFIB yet? JOIN CFIB today for more help and information.