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Members of Parliament urged to help farmers by passing Bill C-206

Toronto, February 22, 2021 – As the country gears up to celebrate Canada’s Agriculture Day tomorrow, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is urging Members of Parliament to help farmers and protect Canada’s food supply by supporting Bill C-206, An Act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (qualifying farming fuel). This Bill would extend the exemption from the federal carbon tax for qualifying farming fuels to include natural gas and propane.

The federal carbon pricing backstop plan applies to businesses and residents in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. On average, farmers estimated they paid almost $14,000 in federal carbon taxes in the first year it applied to them (between April 1st, 2019 to March 31, 2020 when the carbon tax was $20 per tonne of CO2e) according to a CFIB survey. Now, the federal carbon tax is scheduled to rise to $170 per tonne CO2e by 2030 – a 467 per cent increase in ten years. 

“Bill C-206 is important because it provides a real and meaningful way to help farmers. While the federal carbon tax currently exempts most gasoline and diesel fuels for on-farm use, we know farmers are facing huge cost increases in the years ahead on natural gas and propane to dry grain and heat barns,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vice-president of Western Canada & Agri-business. “Certain exemptions already apply to greenhouses so we believe that fully exempting all farms just makes sense.”

“A lot has changed since last year’s national Agriculture Day and the timing couldn’t be better than now to celebrate the important role farmers and those in the food supply chain have played during the pandemic,” explained Virginia Labbie, CFIB’s senior policy analyst, Agri-business. “The challenge is that things are not back to normal quite yet and many small businesses in the restaurant and hospitality sector are struggling to survive or are contemplating permanent closure due to ongoing COVID-19 public health measures. These are all very important parts of Canada’s food industry and a reminder that there is much more work to be done to get our economy back on track.”

The Agriculture & Agri-Food industry employs 2.3 million Canadians, or one in eight jobs, and contributed over $143 billion to Canada’s GDP in 2018. 

“The agriculture sector can play a leading role in Canada’s economic recovery, but we must ensure that a competitive regulatory and tax policy environment is in place so the industry can perform to its potential,” added Labbie. “Bill C-206 is a positive first step in addressing the unfairness of the federal carbon tax and the negative impact it has on farmers.”

To celebrate Canada’s Agriculture Day, CFIB urges all Canadians to:

“Canada’s Agriculture Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the people who work in the agriculture sector and produce the healthy and nutritious food we eat. It is also an opportunity for Members of Parliament of all parties to help farmers by quickly passing Bill C-206,” concluded Braun-Pollon.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact: Milena Stanoeva, CFIB 647-464-2814[email protected] 

About CFIB The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members (including 7,200 agri-businesses). CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.

About Canada’s Agriculture Day Agriculture More Than Ever created Canada’s Agriculture Day in 2017. Ag More Than Ever strives to be a positive voice for Canadian agriculture. Every year in February, Canadians come together to celebrate Canada’s Agriculture Day. The day serves as a way for Canadians to create a closer connection between consumers, food, and the people who produce it. 

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