Environment

While focused on reducing emissions and promoting environmentally sustainable production practices, the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) works to ensure the federal government understands the impact of carbon pricing on our industry’s competitiveness and potential for growth, especially with regard to the greenhouse sector.

Greenhouse growers have developed innovative ways to recycle the carbon they produce as food grade CO2 for their plants. However, such sustainable innovation has not been recognized in a uniform way across Canada, resulting in disparate carbon pricing policies between provinces. The added costs of these policies, together with the capital-intensive infrastructure needed for the construction of greenhouse facilities, makes the sector vulnerable to “carbon leakage”, whereby companies, in an attempt to remain competitive, expand their operations in jurisdictions that aren’t subject to carbon pricing (such as the U.S. and Mexico). Due to the global nature of the produce market, new costs of production are not easily passed onto consumers. This reality impacts the price of domestically-grown food in the marketplace and, ultimately, Canada’s competitiveness.

While fruit and vegetable growers are committed to environmentally friendly production practices, they are also dependent on favourable energy costs and a stable, supportive tax regime to remain competitive and stay in business.

CHC’s position

  • CHC urges the federal government to include natural gas and propane in its list of proposed agricultural fuels exempt from its national carbon pricing policy, as these fuels are recycled by greenhouses as food-grade CO2 for their crops. This exemption would minimize the regional disparity seen in current pricing models and support Canada’s upcoming Food Policy by increasing access to affordable food, improving health and food safety, conserving our soil, water, and air, and growing more high-quality food.

Alternatively:

  • CHC urges the federal government to create a relief mechanism to allow Canadian greenhouse growers to remain competitive with neighbouring jurisdictions, such as the U.S. and Mexico, which have limited exposure to carbon pricing impacts.
  • CHC urges the federal government to establish clear guidelines to provinces on how the competitiveness of their horticultural sectors will be preserved.
  • CHC urges the federal government to take a leadership role in requiring from provinces a formal plan that demonstrates how revenues collected from their carbon pricing policies will address the challenges faced by growers in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Current advocacy activities

  • CHC is working to facilitate access to targeted funding for innovation and adaptive research that will help farmers alleviate the impacts of climate change. Research includes: alternative and renewable fuel options, new insulation materials, strategies for enhanced production efficiencies, and tools to reduce the introduction and spread of invasive species and emerging diseases through biosecurity planning.
  • CHC is actively monitoring Environment Canada activities and looking for opportunities to share its members’ concerns through meetings, correspondence and consultations.
  • CHC is creating an Energy and Environment Working Group that will operate under the Crop, Plant Protection and Environment Committee. The working group will focus on evaluating and developing energy and environmental policy, with the objective of advancing horticultural priorities at the federal level.

Previous advocacy activities

  • In June 2017, CHC responded to the federal government’s Technical Paper on the Federal Carbon Pricing Backstop, as well as to changes to the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting program. CHC requested a national unified relief program for all fuels used in agriculture, in recognition of the Canadian greenhouse sector’s innovative and environmentally friendly use of carbon and heat.
  • In spring 2017, CHC appeared before the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry regarding the impact of climate change and carbon policy.
  • In January 2017, CHC met with key advisors to the Minister of the Environment to discuss the impacts of carbon pricing policies on the greenhouse sector, and the need to harmonize these policies with other countries.

Related committee

The Crop, Plant Protection and Environment Committee advises CHC on a wide range of issues, including sustainability and the environment.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Babcock, Policy Research and Development Manager at jbabcock@hortcouncil.ca.



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