PBO studies amended Bill C-234

PBO studies amended Bill C-234
Feb 14, 2024

The amended bill has fewer savings benefits than the unamended legislation

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Bill C-234 in its current amended state isn’t as good for farmers from a cost savings perspective as the original, unamended piece of legislation.

That’s what the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) discovered in a recent study of the bill.

The amended bill, which removes the carbon tax exemption for fuels used to heat or cool buildings and changes the sunset period of the legislation from eight years to three, would save Canadian farmers about $27 million annually by 2025-2026.

“Which over the same time period is approximately one quarter of our estimate of the Bill as passed by the House of Commons on third reading,” the PBO says in its Feb. 13 report.

The unamended bill, complete with tax exemptions for buildings and an eight-year sunset clause, would see Canadian producers save much more.

The PBO’s Sept. 15, 2023, report on C-234 estimates farmers would save about $106 million per year by 2025-2026, and almost $1 billion in total through 2030.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is urging MPs to pass the unamended version of Bill C-234.

Lowering production costs would result in lower grocery costs, said Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the CTF.

“Making it more affordable for farmers to grow food will make it more affordable for families to buy food,” Terrazzano said in a statement. “MPs must reject the Senate’s amendments and make sure the original Bill C-234 becomes law now.”

Trevor Tombe, an economist with the University of Calgary, estimated the carbon tax is responsible for less than one per cent of grocery price increases.

“The best estimates we have show very clearly that carbon taxes do increase food prices, but do so modestly,” he told the National Post in September 2023. “Certainly not by an amount that’s in any way comparable to the magnitude, just the truly dramatic increase, in food prices that we’ve seen over the last few years,” he said.

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