OTTAWA, ON-The Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada (FVGC) today expressed their profound disappointment regarding the Senate amendment to Bill C-234. The amendment, put forward by Senator Dalphond, removes the heating and cooling of agricultural buildings, including greenhouses, from the full carbon pricing exemptions initially encompassed by the bill.
This alteration comes at a critical juncture as Canadians are grappling with inflationary pressures, leading to higher grocery costs. Moreover, it places Canada at a competitive disadvantage globally, especially when compared to our major trading partners. A recent RBC report revealed that the U.S. and the EU allocate 1.7% and 1.8% of farm gate receipts, respectively, for climate funding, compared to Canada’s mere 0.5%. The Senate’s amendment, rather than taking steps to bridge this considerable gap, sadly perpetuates it.
“Our family farms and the fresh fruit and vegetables they provide are under immense strain,” states Jan VanderHout, President of FVGC. “The original version of Bill C-234, passed with all party-support by the House of Commons, promised tangible relief to a sector already navigating numerous challenges-from stabilizing grocery prices to contending with carbon tax pressures. Its alteration by the Senate not only diminishes this relief but also increases the cost of Canadian food production. It’s disheartening to witness this lost opportunity for meaningful impact.”
Linda Delli Santi, Chair of the Greenhouse Vegetable Working Group, also shares this sentiment. “The importance of Bill C-234 to our sector cannot be overstated. This amendment disrupts the balance, making it even more challenging for the greenhouse industry to plan for a sustainable future.”
“While we appreciate the existing 80% exemption under the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (GGPPA), it’s clearly no longer enough when an Ontario family farm growing 30 acres of greenhouse peppers faces nearly $150,000 in annual carbon tax costs at today’s rate of $65 per tonne,” says Delli Santi. “Carbon and heat are essential for greenhouse crops. This Senate amendment strips away our industry’s ability to make innovative investments in sustainable agriculture and produce food that the world so desperately needs.”
FVGC strongly urges the government to prioritize the original version of Bill C-234, passed with all-party support, by the House of Commons, in upcoming policy decisions and budget allocations. It is imperative that the core essence of this bill be upheld to safeguard the future of Canadian agriculture and to alleviate the economic pressures facing Canadian farmers. Anything less would represent a missed opportunity to enact meaningful change for both the fresh fruit and vegetable sector and the Canadian public at large.
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
Producteurs de fruits et légumes du Canada