Canada and B.C. Ministers of Agriculture announce signing of the Growing Forward 2 program details for the agriculture and agrifood sector in British Columbia. Specific program information will be available as details are finalized and legal agreements are signed.
Some agriculture highlights of the 2013 Federal Budget include:
Increase of $50,000 to Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption - will help farmers manage the tax burden associated with the transfer of farm assets.
Increase restricted farm losses from $8,750 to $17,500
Increasing investment in Genome Canada, supporting agriculture innovation and research.
Continued support for Beyond the Border and work to reducing trade barriers between Canada and the US.
Incentives for clean energy generation equipment and technology development
If you already receive the 1151F Farm Rate from BC Hydro, you should automatically get a PST exemption on your electricity bill as of April 1, 2013.
If you are a new farm account that needs to be classified as Conservation Rate exempt:
1. The land must be classified as 'agricultural' by the BC Assessment Authority.
2. The service to the farm may not include any commercial operations. (see Note below)
3. Prior to BC Hydro making any changes to the taxation status of an account, we must be provided with sufficient documentation. There are two approved forms of documentation:
o A copy of your most recent BC Assessment Form or
o A copy of your Property Tax Notice
Please fax or mail a copy of the approved documentation to us at:
BC Hydro, Billing, 6911 Southpoint Drive C01, Burnaby, B.C. V3N 4X8
Please Note: Commercial operations, as defined by the Consumer Taxation Branch, refer to activities such as sales or manufacturing, which extend beyond those activities normally associated with farming. For example, planting, growing, raising, grading and packaging of the farms own products are considered a farming activity. The retail sale of these sorted or packaged products, or a further processing or manufacturing of these products, are commercial activities, for which the exemption does not apply.
For more information, please contact BC Hydro directly:
Phone: (604) 224-9376 or toll free 1-800-224-9376,
Hours: Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and
Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Message from BCAC Chair Rhonda Driediger regarding the 2013 BC Election:
"The upcoming provincial election scheduled for May 2013 is an important opportunity for BC farmers and ranchers to engage with party leaders and candidates. To help facilitate this process, the BC Agriculture Council, through consultation with our entire membership, has identified common issues across all sectors of BC agriculture. These issues have been summarized in the attached document with suggested questions for candidates. BCAC has sent this document to the major political parties in BC and we will keep you updated on the responses as they come in.
It is very important that this message also reaches the community level. We need all BC farmers and ranchers, to familiarize themselves with these issues, proactively engaging their local candidates (in person, email, phone, etc). We strongly encourage the entire BCAC membership to become active voices for agriculture during this election campaign.
Together we will improve the long term profitability of farmers and ranchers in BC."
Rhonda Driediger, Chair
BC Agriculture Council
Fortis BC has been fielding enquiries from farm customers regarding their gas billing and the up-coming switch back to the PST. Farmers may be exempt from paying PST on all or portions of their gas bill. This billing exemption as of April 1, 2013 will not take place automatically since Fortis BC has no way of identifying bona fide BC Farm status on specific accounts unless customers are in contact with us.
As such, Fortis BC has established a procedure for this confirmation of Farmer Status to take place. In order to register farmer exemption status for FortisBC gas bills:
Farmers can email a scanned copy of their proof (BC Farmer ID Card/certificate) to email@example.com or fax it to 1-888-224-2720.
Please ensure to include any and all qualifying gas account numbers; and a primary contact name and phone number in your email or fax.
FortisBC Customer Service Reps are available to answer questions @ 1-888-224-2710.
Key Account Manager – Agriculture Sector/Food & Beverage Processors
Toll-Free in BC: 1-888-954-7857
On February 20, BCAC Executive Director participated in a pre-budget meeting consultation hosted by federal Minister of Trade Ed Fast, focusing on trade with Asia.
Some of the topics discussed included:
· Public education and engagement on benefits of economic development.
· Infrastructure in the Lower Mainland (rail bridges, shortage of industrial land, port space, Massey Tunnel)
· Species at Risk
· Secure, streamlined, harmonized regulatory framework
· Domestic trade issues
· Skills training
· Treaty negotiations
· Emerging opportunities in India
· Access to Asian markets for BC cherries and blueberries (getting closer)
· Protectionism used by virtually all trading partners in different forms
· Increasing global demand for food, importance of food security and need for a national food strategy
Other attendees included the Asia Pacific Foundation, BC Chamber of Commerce, BC Chamber of Shipping, BC Seafood Alliance, Council of Forest Industries. CP Rail, Pacific Gateway Alliance, Port Metro Vancouver and the Vancouver Airport Authority.