The BC Ministry of Finance recently anounced its intention of exempting the carbon tax from coloured fuel used by BC farmers and ranchers. The legislation is anticipated to be tabled at the Fall sitting of the BC legislature for implementation at a future date.
The BC Ministry of Agriculture estimates that this proposal will save BC farmers & ranchers $4-4.5M each year. This is based on a carbon tax rate of 6.67 cents/litre on gasoline and 7.67 cents/litre for diesel. The table below summarizes the proposed discounts.
|Applicable Tax Rates||Type of Fuel|
|Coloured Gasoline (cents/Litre)||Coloured Diesel (Cents/Litre)|
|Existing Motor Fuel Tax Exemption Rate||3||3|
|Proposed Carbon Tax Exemption Rate||6.67||7.67|
|Total Proposed Exemption for Farmers and Ranchers||9.67||10.67|
The government of BC’s arrangement with CFIA to inspect provincially licensed Class A and B abattoirs will be replaced by a new provincial meat inspection system by Jan. 1, 2014. The new system is the result of extensive consultation with ranchers, abattoir operations, local governments, and direct farm marketers.
“We are pleased with the government’s approach to the new Meat Inspection System”, states Kevin Boon, general manager of the BC Cattlemen Association. “Meat Inspection is an important link in the supply chain and it is important that it be paid for and delivered by government to insure its credibility. We believe the provincial government has done a very good job of developing a system that will satisfy the needs of consumers, producers and processors alike.”
In summary, the budget has increased funding for the Ministry of Agriculture over the next three years
• $900k annual increase for ALC
• $6.5m annual funding for Greenhouse Carbon Tax rebate
• $5.6m annual funding for a Meat Inspection Program (plus an additional onetime $1m to assist with transition costs)
• A zero budget item is the reallocation of GF2 funding from Business Risk Management (BRM) programs to non-BRM programming (innovation and competitiveness). These details were discussed as part of the multilateral agreements last fall.
In addition to items in Ministry of Agriculture’s budget the following items are funded through other ministries:
• An estimated $4-4.5m for the Carbon tax on coloured fuel – from Ministry of finance.
• $1m in funding for Ag in the Classroom and expanding the healthy school snack program, adding milk to distribution. BC Dairy will also assist with the cost of distributing milk to K-2 students which is anticipated to start in September.
The key objective of the budget is to go from a $1.2B deficit in 2012/13 to a balanced budget in 2013/14. The Province intends to achieve this by increasing net economic growth, managing expenditures, moderate tax measures and sales of property & assets.
What does this mean for agriculture?
The good news is that despite difficult economic environment, the budget for the BC Ministry of Agriculture has been expanded.
Funding for the ALC will support implementation of the recommendations made by the Auditor General including the intent of “... working with local government to encourage farming”. BCAC has met with the ALC to discuss issues impacting farmers and we look forward to working with the Commission to strengthen using agricultural land for agriculture.
Annual carbon tax rebate for greenhouse growers will provide a predictable tax regime, allowing farmers to make long term plans. Industry has been pressing Government to a long term solution for the Carbon Tax.
The carbon tax exemption for coloured fuel is anticipated to providing between $4 and $4.5M in tax relief to the sector. Including the exemption as part of the coloured fuel tax exemption should minimize the administrative costs and provide relief to most producers. This cost is not part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s budget. BCAC will be working with the government over the coming months as the details are developed.
The BC government has been working on an improved meat inspection program for a long time. While details of the new meat inspection program will be released in the coming weeks, preliminary analysis indicates that the proposed budget will be adequate for the program.
As in past years a significant part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s activities are part of the Growing Forward 2 Federal/Provincial initiatives. We are encouraged by the ongoing high level discussions with the Ministry of Agriculture. We hope that the bilateral agreement will be signed very shortly and that industry will be engaged in detailed program discussions.
Expanding BC Agriculture in the Classroom’s healthy school snack program is good news for the sector. Increasing consumer awareness of healthy local food will help BC manage long term health care costs and increase demand for BC food products.
In general, agriculture has a lot to offer the BC economy: it is a stabilizing force providing employment, safe, healthy, affordable food, with a climate and geographical placement which is the envy of the world. While government is commended for taking positive steps during difficult economic times, there is still more work to be done to enhance our sector and encourage more investment. Some outstanding items include a long term agri-food strategy for BC and making the PST system more efficient for farm business owners. The BC Agriculture Council will continue to work on these and other issues to continually improve the social, economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture in BC.
For more information contact
Cheryl Davie, Manager, Policy & Communications
BC Agriculture Council
In recent weeks, the BC Agriculture Council (BCAC) has received a much higher than normal number of applications for the BCAC farmer id card. We are trying to process these cards as quickly as possible and have hired some extra help for this time, but still have a backlog of applications. Please note that, for completed applications, our current processing time is approximately 2 weeks.
****Thank you for your patience******
The BCAC strongly advocated to keep the HST, but the referrendum determined its fate. The BCAC farmer id card is still the most convenient way to identify yourself as a bona fide farmer to be exempt from the PST on certain farm purchases. Easily identify yourself as a bona fide farmer: Become a BCAC farmer id cardholder now!
Some suppliers like to have a certificate of exemption form on file. If you need this from, the Certificate of Exemption: Farmer is now available.
BC Ministry of Finance has issued a PST Bulletin for farmers. Following are some more resources for farmers:
Farmers Brace for Return of PST by David Schmidt, Country Life in BC
View the Provincial of 2013 BC Provincial Sales Tax Exemption and Refund Regulation (This is a very long document, farming is mentioned on pages 40 and 132-143),
BCAC Executive Director Reg Ens received a Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, which was presented to him at the 2013 BC Agri-food Industry Gala on Jan. 23, 2013.
Reg was recognized for his strong and supportive leadership in representating farmers and ranchers in BC. Congratulations, Reg!
Agriculture was spotlighted in the Vancouver Sun’s “BC 2035: A guide to our economic future” section on Saturday January 26, 2013. In addition to describing producing food as the most important economic activity in BC, writer Harvey Enchin also acknowledged that, because of the way industries are categorized, agriculture is often overlooked as an economic driver. The cover feature and all related articles can be found at:
Reg Ens, executive director of the BC Agriculture Council and Linda Delli Santi, executive director of the BC Greenhouse Growers Association were quoted in an article that focused on government policy in BC. Reg provided some input in regards to the importance of buying BC products, cuts in government extension services, and the need for a long term food strategy. Linda Delli Santi described the impact of the carbon tax on the greenhouse sector. Read more here.
Ravi Bathe, President of BC Chicken Growers and Director of BC Young Farmers was interviewed about younger generations returning to agriculture. Read more here.
Cranberry grower Bruce May was interviewed in an article that focused on urban growth as a threat to agriculture, and the impacts on his family farm in particular. Read more here.
Past president of the BC Fruit Growers' Association and Okanagan orchardist Joe Sardinia was interviewed in an article about how the apple industry is meeting changing consumer demand by planting new varieties. Read more here.
Several BC farmers, including BCAC Chair Rhonda Driediger, were featured in a photo gallery with 10 notable facts about BC Agriculture. Read more here.
As we heard from the 2013 gala keynote speakers, Troy & Stacy Hadrick: if farmers don't get out and tell their stories, someone else will do it for them...Thank you to all the farmers and industry leaders who took the time to tell their story!