WESTERN PRODUCER — Farm organizations looking for more money to be designated to the next agricultural policy framework in last week’s federal budget will have to wait longer.
The budget acknowledged the next agreement is in the works but offered no indication if funding will be bolstered beyond the average $2.6 billion spent each year to pay for more of the environmental initiatives Ottawa wants included.
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture and others have said the program has to reflect reality and they don’t want existing programs eroded by new ones.
“Farmers need to be continuously engaged on the development of the agriculture policy framework and are pushing to have the funding envelope increased for this framework to better reflect the prominence of agriculture as a climate solutions provider, growth in the sector, and increased risks and input prices facing Canadian agriculture today,” said CFA vice-president Keith Currie.
The next agreement is scheduled to be signed in Saskatoon in July and funding commitments could be established then.
Most other agricultural funding was announced previously in the government’s emissions reduction plan. The budget did include some investments in supply chain infrastructure and broadband.
Budget 2022 included the announcement of another round of consultations on Bill C-208, a private member’s bill that received royal assent last June.
The bill provided for an exception in the Income Tax Act to facilitate intergenerational transfers of farms.
But the government noted in budget documents that “the exception may unintentionally permit surplus stripping without requiring that a genuine intergenerational business transfer takes place.”
The government suggested it could bring forward legislation after the consultations to protect the tax system’s integrity while ensuring “genuine” intergenerational transfers take place.
The budget also referred to a national school food policy, saying that over the next year the ministers of agriculture and social development will work on ways that more children can receive food at school. It said two million children are at risk of attending school hungry each day.
Some additional funding was earmarked to address processing times for temporary foreign workers. The budget allocated $29.3 million to create a Trusted Employer model and reduce red tape to access the TFW program. Another $48.2 million is to create a new streamlined foreign worker program for both agriculture and fish processing.
There was little in the document about trade or new agreements in the works, and the Climate Action Investment Fund, which many farmers had used, is still in limbo.