Jan. 24, 2024 (Ottawa, ON) – The Agriculture Carbon Alliance (ACA) urges Members of Parliament to support Canada’s hardworking farmers, growers and ranchers by rejecting the proposed Senate’s amendments and upholding Bill C-234, an Act to Amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, in its original form as was passed by the House of Commons in March 2023.
After prolonged procedural hurdles, including reintroducing previously defeated amendments and frequent adjournments, the Senate narrowly passed earlier rejected amendments to the bill, despite prior rejections by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food and the entire Senate at report stage. The bill now returns to the House of Commons where its future remains uncertain.
Dave Carey, co-chair of ACA, is concerned by the potential for further delays.
“Canadian farmers shouldn’t shoulder the burden of political delays and partisan interests, we truly hope the government doesn’t delay the House of Commons voting on C-234,” he says.
“With a new growing season approaching and the next carbon price increase this spring, the necessity for financial relief is increasingly evident. Removing capital, especially when margins are already thin, hinders critical investments in efficiency. It’s simply not a sustainable solution to expect producers to pay tens of thousands of dollars while waiting for technology to catch up.”
Bill C-234 seeks crucial on-farm exemptions from carbon pricing for propane and natural gas, vital for grain drying and heating due to the lack of viable fuel alternatives. The amended bill effectively limits the exemption to grain drying, eliminating the proposed exemption for heating barns, greenhouses and food-growing structures, and includes an amended 3-year sunset clause which is not enough time for technology to catch up and be widely available to farmers across all Canada. This exclusion means that tens of thousands of farmers, growers and ranchers will miss out on much-needed financial relief at a crucial time.
“C-234, in its original form, acknowledges the industry’s widespread absence of viable fuel alternatives and provides immediate relief to all farmers. However, moving forward with this version of the bill creates an unjust inequity for thousands of farmers left paying carbon prices on essential practices despite their shared need and lack of alternatives,” says Scott Ross, co-chair of ACA.
“With agriculture’s potential to deliver critical climate solutions, policies like those in C-234 are critical to ensure farmers can invest in a sustainable future for their operations.”
Bill C-234 passed the House of Commons in March with support from all Conservative, New Democrat, Bloc and Green MPs, along with several Liberals. In the prior Parliament, MP Phillip Lawrence’s Private Members’ Bill C-206 and retired Senator Dianne Griffin’s S-215 aimed to secure natural gas and propane exemptions under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act for farming activities. Bill C-206 made it to the Senate but died on the Order Paper when the 2021 general election was called.
As the House of Commons reconvenes, ACA urges Members of Parliament to promptly reinstate the bill to its original form and returning it back to the Senate, thereby ensuring timely support for producers.
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ACA is a national coalition of 17 farm organizations committed to meaningful and collaborative dialogue with the federal government around carbon pricing. Our membership encompasses all major agriculture commodities and represents 190,000 farm businesses that steward 62 million hectares. Canada’s farmers are the heart of our agri-food value chain, which contributes $135 billion annually and provides one in nine Canadian jobs.
Our members include Canadian Canola Growers Association, Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Canadian Cattle Association, Grain Growers of Canada, Canadian Pork Council, Chicken Farmers of Canada, Turkey Farmers of Canada, Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada, Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, Canadian Forage and Grassland Association, the National Sheep Network, National Cattle Feeders’ Association, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Canadian Seed Growers’ Association, Mushrooms Canada, Canadian Nursery Landscape Association and Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Association.