OFA heads to Parliament Hill on March 23

Mar 20, 2017

Farmers will bring agriculture’s voice to the federal government

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is gearing up for its annual trip to Parliament Hill to meet with MPs and let agriculture’s voice be heard.

Joined by the Quebec Farmers Association and Canadian Federation of Agriculture, the groups will visit Parliament Hill on March 23.

“This event is a significant opportunity to bring messages directly from grassroots farmers to our federal leaders,” Debra Pretty Straathof, an OFA director, said in an article on OFA’s website.

The groups plan to discuss a variety of issues, including transportation infrastructure, and the need for high speed Internet. The groups will also discuss agriculture’s overall place as an economic driver, which was described in the Advisory Council on Economic Growth’s The Path to Prosperity report.

Canada has “core strengths” in agriculture but they’re held back due to “excessive regulations,” according to the report. Agriculture is an area where Canada can become “the trusted global leader in safe, nutritious and sustainable food for the 21st century.”

Straathof said the report echoes what farmers have been telling the public.

“As farmers, we’ve been sharing that message with government, and will use the report to validate our requests for government support in infrastructure, seek to include its directions in the national Food Policy and strive for a reprieve from carbon pricing on critical farm inputs,” Straathof said.

Canada’s next federal budget is scheduled to come out March 22.

Some firms are already speculating what the new budget might mean for agriculture.

In late 2016, the House of Commons issued a Report of the Standing Committee on Finance titled “Creating the Conditions for Economic Growth: Tools for People, Businesses and Communities.”

According to MNP, parts of this report could be considered in the upcoming budget, including:

  • The report recommended the government review tax implications of intergenerational transfers of business. The review will look at provisions regarding farming businesses to allow businesses to be transferred to the next generation with little tax impact. The review would also look at allowing farm business transfers to include family members who aren’t spouses or children of the transferor.
  • The report recommended enhancing AgriInvest by “allowing farmers to make a withdrawal from Fund 1 without first having to make a withdrawal from Fund 2, provided that any such withdrawal is invested in eligible projects.
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