Tax Breaks for Farmers, Food for Ontario Families
(September 9, 2013) My PC Party colleague MPP Bob Bailey (Sarnia—Lambton) has introduced a very sensible amendment to the Liberals Local Food Act that I wholeheartedly support on behalf of farmers in Simcoe-Grey. It’s a win-win for everyone if Ontario adopts the proposal that gives tax breaks to farmers who donate their product to local food banks.
Amending the Local Food Act to include this provision would allow farmers who donate their excess agricultural products to earn a non-refundable tax-credit worth 25% of the wholesale value of the product. The amendment would also permit unused tax credits to be carried forward for up to five years.
It is a great incentive for farmers and a great way for local food banks to collect fresh, high quality Ontario foods that were rejected by grocers for simple cosmetic reasons like shape, size or colour.
While food banks often struggle to feed all those in need, nearly 25 million pounds of fresh, nutritious food is either thrown away or ploughed back into fields because of its unsightly features. I want to change that.
In order to continue strengthening our economy, we must create opportunities and introduce incentives for hard working Ontarians to take advantage of. We also must help those Ontarians who are struggling to put food on their tables and get the nutrients they need. With this amendment, we can do both by continuing to support our local farmers and local families.
The Local Food Act in its current form does little to promote fresh, homegrown local foods. In fact, it doesn’t do much of anything. To read Hansard from when I debated this bill in the Legislature click here.
This plan to fight hunger with local food is an amendment that my colleagues and I will be pushing for in the upcoming session ahead. But, to make it a reality we are going to need your support.
It’s up to the government to adopt our idea, which considering their dismal track record with cooperation and compromise it will not be easy. To help us push this amendment forward, I encourage you to call, email or write to the Premier. I have posted her contact information below.
Premier Kathleen Wynne – Room 281, Queen’s Park
111 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A1
To learn more about our plan for agriculture reform and other ideas, I again encourage you to visit my website. Our ideas can be found in our Paths to Prosperity discussion papers that we will be taking from to form our policy in the next election.