CHC addresses carbon pricing in presentation to Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry

chc at senate hearing
CHC representatives at Senate Committee hearing. From left to right: Julie Paillat, National Coordinator, Greenhouse Vegetable Industry; Mark Wales, Chair, CHC BRM Committee; Jan VanderHout, CHC Board Member and greenhouse grower.

On May 10, 2018, CHC presented before the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (AGFO) to discuss Part 5, as it relates to farming, of Bill C-74 (a bill intended to pass into law certain elements of Budget 2018).

Key points conveyed

CHC took advantage of its appearance before the senate committee to reiterate its key messages regarding carbon pricing, notably:

  • The government should recognize that greenhouse vegetable growers deliberately create, capture and assimilate CO2 for crop fertilization.
  • The government should issue a national exemption from its carbon pricing policy to cover all fuel used for agricultural activities, including greenhouses, thereby minimizing the impacts of interprovincial competitiveness.
  • The government should create a national relief mechanism, as the current carbon tax creates a competitive disadvantage between growers within a single province, across Canada, and on the international stage.
  • The government should use CHC’s revised definition of primary agriculture across all departments and in Bill C-74, as the current definition does not reflect the full range of farming activities and machinery used in Canadian primary agriculture (see suggested definition below).
  • Many greenhouse growers invest their own money into adapting and implementing new energy efficiencies, even before government funding becomes available. The Senators discussed with CHC the opportunity for these efforts to be recognised financially, retroactively.
  • Carbon pricing cannot simply be passed onto consumers due to the global nature of the produce market.

CHC will be following up directly with the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance regarding Bill C-74 to emphasize our main asks.

CHC’s proposed definition of primary agriculture for the federal government to use across departments

Primary agriculture refers to farming in all its branches, and, among other things, includes the cultivation and tillage of the soil, dairying, the production, cultivation, growing, and harvesting of any agricultural or horticultural commodities, the raising of livestock, bees, furbearing animals, or poultry, and any practices (including any forestry or lumbering operations) performed by a farmer or on a farm as an incident to or in conjunction with such farming operations, including preparation for market and delivery to storage or to market or to carriers for transportation to market, and including business structures such as cooperatives to help accomplish packing, processing, storage and shipping. Additionally, as long as the same agricultural tasks is undertaken on raw and fresh products, even if it is not on Canadian fruits and vegetables, this activity should always be considered primary agriculture, in the context of maintaining a Canadian activity out of season.