Bill C-234 is in the second reading stage
By Diego Flammini
A piece of legislation that would provide farmers with carbon tax relief is in front of Canadian senators.
Bill C-234, which exempts on-farm fuels like propane and natural gas used in grain drying and barn heating from the federal carbon tax, had its first reading in the senate on March 30 and the second reading on May 9.
Canadian farmers pay millions of dollars in carbon taxes.
Keystone Agricultural Producers, for example, estimated Manitoba farmers paid $1.7 million in carbon taxes in 2019.
And multiple ag organizations have expressed concern over what additional carbon taxes could do to farmers.
Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan calculated that the carbon tax at $170 per tonne, which is where carbon tax pricing is expected to be by 2030-31, will cost a grain farmer $12.52 per acre.
With the 2021 Census of Agriculture calculating the average farm size in Saskatchewan at 1,766 acres, a farm of that size would pay $22,110 in carbon taxes.
As it stands, Canadian farmers have no alternative fuels to use for these applications.
That’s why passing Bill C-234 is important, Senator David Wells, who sponsored the bill in the senate.
“The law currently penalizes farmers for something over which they have no control,” he said on May 9. “They cannot shift their energy away from fossil fuels because alternatives are not yet available. This makes the current situation punitive and fundamentally unfair.”
Senator Wells went on to say the bill isn’t about support for the carbon tax, nor is it about politics, “it’s about making sure the carbon tax is equitable applied and does not harm our agriculture industry.”
Bill C-234 needs to pass the second and third readings in the senate before receiving royal assent and becoming law.
Conservative MP Ben Lobb introduced the bill in the House of Commons on Feb. 7, 2022.
Bill C-234 passed the third reading in the House on March 29.