Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada Advocates for Senate Approval of Bill C-234 Amidst Rising Food Costs

November 22, 2023

OTTAWA, ON – The Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada (FVGC) is calling on the Canadian Senate to urgently pass Bill C-234, a pivotal piece of legislation for the agricultural sector and consumers. The final vote is expected today, November 21st, but there are serious concerns that the vote will be further delayed. This private member’s bill, which passed in the House of Commons with all-party support, aims to provide specific exemptions for farmers under Canada’s carbon pricing system.

Given the current surge in food inflation – the highest in 40 years – the enactment of Bill C-234 is a critical measure not only in agricultural policy but also in addressing the broader cost-of-living crisis in Canada.

Jan VanderHout, President of FVGC, highlights the critical situation of family farms and the necessity of accessible fresh fruits and vegetables. “Bill C-234 is vital for an industry struggling with soaring carbon taxes and increasing operational expenses. For example, a 30-acre Ontario greenhouse pepper family farm incurs about $150,000 in annual carbon tax expenses at today’s rates. This mid-sized commercial operation can incur expenses between $7,000-$12,000 per month. We urge the Senate to promptly pass Bill C-234, enabling us to continue providing affordable food for Canadians,” says VanderHout.

Currently, carbon costs are unavoidable for growers. Adopting Bill C-234 would enable farmers to reinvest carbon tax expenditures into innovative, low-emission technologies, driving down both agricultural costs and consumer food prices, while supporting environmental sustainability.

As the carbon tax escalates – currently at $65 per tonne and projected to reach $170/tonne by 2030 – Canadian agriculture faces significant financial burdens. Sector-wide, Canadian greenhouse growers will spend approximately $22 million in 2023 in carbon taxes applied to their natural gas used to grow food year-round in Canada, and this amount will rise to between $82-100 million by 2030. The passage of Bill C-234 is crucial to averting a spike in grocery prices and offering substantial support to farmers battling rising costs and carbon tax challenges.

FVGC implores Canadian Senators to acknowledge the significance of this bill and act swiftly in its approval. The future sustainability of Canadian agriculture and the affordability of food nationwide hinges on this essential decision.

The Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada (FVGC) represents growers across the country involved in the production of over 120 different types of crops on over 14,000 farms, with a farm gate value of $5.9 billion in 2021. FVGC is an Ottawa-based voluntary, not-for-profit, national association, and, since 1922, has advocated on important issues that impact Canada’s fresh produce sector, promoting healthy, safe, and sustainable food, ensuring the continued success and growth of the industry.

For more information, please contact:
Ashley Peyrard
Communications Manager
Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada