That should be included in the Next Policy Framework, a business organization says
By Diego Flammini
Canada’s agriculture ministers should be working to make life easier for Canadian farmers and agri-businesses, a business organization says.
Federal, provincial and territorial ministers of agriculture are meeting in Saskatoon, Sask. in July for talks about the Next Policy Framework.
The current framework, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, expires in March 2023.
Ensuring producers and related businesses can be competitive, productive and viable, while reducing tax burdens and red tape, should be a priority, said Jasmin Guenette, vice president of national affairs with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
“Many businesses are seeing steep increases,” he told Farms.com. “Inputs and energy costs are increasing. It’s not the time to raise government taxes and there should be an effort to reduce the burden on businesses.”
The CFIB represents more than 95,000 businesses across Canada.
Of that number, about 6,000 are in the agriculture sector.
Regulation is another factor posing difficulties for agri-businesses.
A CFIB survey to its ag members showed 99 per cent of respondents agrees that “governments must consider the financial and practical impact of new policies and regulations on the sector before implementing them.”
This means streamlining communication channels to ensure farmers aren’t wasting their time, Guenette said.
“It’s not easy for a farmer to really understand all the regulations in play,” he said. “They have to deal with several different departments like the CFIA, or Health Canada or Agriculture Canada. And if those departments don’t speak to one another, then a farmer has to try to understand regulations set out by each individual department they may have to deal with.”
CFIB is also urging Parliament to pass Bill C-234, which would exempt farm fuels from the carbon tax.
“Any bill from any member of Parliament from any political party that will support farmers, and make it less costly to run a farm business, we will get behind,” Guenette said. “We encourage all members of Parliament to vote in favour of this bill and hope it will go to the Senate in the fall.”
The CFIB published a six-item proposal for ministers to consider during the next policy framework conversations.
The items are:
- Reducing the total tax burden for agri-businesses
- Increasing the focus on regulatory reform by reducing the burden of government regulation and red tape
- Implementing policies to address labour shortages
- Increasing processing capacity and value-added opportunities
- Improving access to reliable broadband
- Designing more effective business risk management programs
AgriStability specifically needs to improve, farmers say.
CFIB’s survey showed only 16 per cent of farmers identified as “very satisfied” with AgriStability.
“Improving that program is certainly something that should be in the next framework,” Guenette said.