An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (transfer of small business or family farm or fishing corporation)

This bill was last introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2021.

This bill was previously introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session.


Larry Maguire  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill.


This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Income Tax Act in order to provide that, in the case of qualified small business corporation shares and shares of the capital stock of a family farm or fishing corporation, siblings are deemed not to be dealing at arm’s length and to be related, and that, under certain conditions, the transfer of those shares by a taxpayer to the taxpayer’s child or grandchild who is 18 years of age or older is to be excluded from the anti-avoidance rule of section 84.‍1.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


May 12, 2021 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-208, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (transfer of small business or family farm or fishing corporation)
Feb. 3, 2021 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-208, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (transfer of small business or family farm or fishing corporation)

TaxationStatements by Members

June 11th, 2024 / 2:05 p.m.
See context


Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, at a time when food insecurity is skyrocketing and millions are lining up at food banks, the government is bringing forward a punishing capital gains tax hike that would disproportionately affect family farms and small business. According to the Grain Growers of Canada, it will amount to a 30% increase on what farmers have to pay Ottawa when they pass on their family business to their son or daughter.

The Conservatives have fought hard to preserve family farming, including by passing Bill C-208 in the last Parliament, but the Liberals are trying to undo it with a punishing capital gains tax hike. It is like they are trying to outlaw family businesses. If families cannot afford to farm, it will lead to more industrial farming and higher food costs.

Why is the government trying to kill family farms when all they want to do is put high-quality, affordable food on our tables? How is any of this fair?

February 29th, 2024 / 11 a.m.
See context

Lindsay Gwyer Director General, Legislation, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I'm Lindsay Gwyer, director general, legislation, at the Department of Finance. I'm here to talk about part 1. A number of my colleagues are also here to answer questions on part 1.

Part 1 contains the income tax measures in the bill. There are about 20 measures, so I won't be able to describe them all, but I'll just do a very high-level summary of several of the key ones.

First, there are a number of integrity measures in part 1. The first two relate to recommendations from the OECD's base erosion and profit shifting project. The first would limit the deductibility of net interest and financing expenses by certain corporations and trusts to a fixed ratio, which in most cases would be equal to 30% of tax EBITDA. The second OECD-related measure would implement rules to deal with hybrid mismatch arrangements, which are cross-border tax avoidance structures that exploit differences in income tax laws between two countries.

The bill contains other integrity measures, including an anti-avoidance rule to prevent private corporations from avoiding the refundable tax on passive income, as well as new rules to facilitate true intergenerational transfers, stemming from Bill C-208. Bill C-59 also includes a change to deny the deduction for dividends received by Canadian financial institutions on certain shares held as mark-to-market property, as well as changes to strengthen the general anti-avoidance rules. In addition, the bill will introduce a 2% tax on the net value of equity redemptions by certain Canadian corporations, trusts and partnerships whose equity is listed on a designated stock exchange.

The bill also includes a number of incentives and changes to tax credits. First there are two new refundable investment tax credits. The first would be available to taxable Canadian corporations on investments in eligible equipment used in carbon capture, utilization and storage projects. The second is another refundable credit available to taxable Canadian corporations and real estate investment trusts for investments in certain clean technology.

Other incentives and credits in part 1 of the bill include changes to the flow-through share rules to allow expenditures incurred in the exploration and development of all forms of lithium to qualify for the critical mineral exploration tax credit, changes to extend the phase-out by three years and to expand eligible activities for the reduced tax rates for zero-emission technology manufacturers, and changes to facilitate the creation of employee ownership trusts. Part 1 would also double the rural supplement for the Canada carbon rebate tax credit.

Those are the major measures in part 1. There are also a number of other more technical measures.

My colleagues and I would be happy to provide more detail on those or any of the measures I mentioned.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing ActPrivate Members' Business

February 14th, 2024 / 6:45 p.m.
See context


Branden Leslie Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to wish my amazing wife, Cailey, and our beautiful daughter, Maeve, a happy Valentine's Day. I love them both, and I cannot wait to see them and celebrate.

I am going to speak from the heart a little on this one, it being Valentine's Day. It is something that is extremely close to my heart. I have been involved in the efforts to eliminate the carbon tax on natural gas and propane for grain drying for many years, going back to Bill C-206 in the previous Parliament. I worked for the Grain Growers of Canada prior to this.

This is a good piece of legislation. It should not be political. This is about fixing a policy that does not make sense and that simply punishes our farmers. Grain growers, when they have a wet year, have no choice but to store their grain at the appropriate moisture level. They do this by drying it, and the only sources to do that are propane and natural gas. In just the same way, our livestock producers are forced to use those fuels to heat and cool their livestock operations for the welfare of the animals.

This is a common-sense carve-out that would leave money in the pockets of farmers to reinvest in their own operations, to reinvest in their own communities and to lower the prices of food for Canadians. It amounts to $1 billion; it was the intention of the bill to allow our farmers to maintain that in their pockets. The amended version of this bill removes about $900 million of that, because the Senate gutted it.

Let us just go back through how we got to where we are. This was supported by parties across this chamber, and even some Liberal MPs. It was supported by the Conservatives, the NDP, the Bloc Québécois and even the Green Party members, recognizing the importance of this legislation to Canadian producers and to Canadian consumers. The members acknowledged that this carve-out made sense.

Things got political, though. When it got to the Senate, of all places, that so-called chamber of sober second thought had a whole bunch of political manipulation involved with it that caused absolute mayhem. The fact is that we are in no man's land here, with debate potentially never ending, thanks to the Liberal government and its intrusion into that so-called independent Senate.

The reality is that, after we got through the House, the bill went to the Senate. The senators tried to amend it at the senate committee with the exact same amendments that were tried in this chamber, but the Liberals could not find a dancing partner. All the other parties realized that this is good policy; only the Liberals stood in the way of it.

However, in their back pocket, the Liberals had the so-called independent Liberal, not by name, senators that they could manipulate. In fact, the environment minister even admitted that he called six of them. At our environment committee, I asked for the names of the six senators. He promised to get back to me, and after 49 days, he came back with three names. I guess he forgot, and guessed up, how many senators he tried to corner into moving and passing amendments at the committee stage and at the broader Senate chamber to try to gut this bill.

The Prime Minister's Office and the radical environment minister did everything they and their government could to force the Senate to gut this bill. The environment minister just loves the carbon tax and put his entire credibility and career on the line, saying that he would resign if there was an additional carve-out for farmers. That is how we have arrived at where we are today.

This, from the Liberals, should not be surprising. They are fully committed to a policy that is failing Canadians from coast to coast to coast. This carbon tax scam is raising the price of everything, making us all poorer, making us less competitive and driving down profits for our farmers.

It is not surprising, because this is the Liberal government that called all farmers and small business owners “tax cheats”. The same government voted against a common-sense piece of legislation, Bill C-208, that would have aided in the transfer of farms from one generation of a family to the next. It came up with a crazy idea to reduce the amount of fertilizer we use in this country by 30%, following Europe's lead. Europe is a continent that went from being a net exporter to a net importer of food; it is reliant on other nations for its energy, in this case, terrible aggressors, namely Russia.

We are going down an awful path as it relates to our food and fuel in this country, so it should come as no surprise that the government stands opposed to such common-sense legislation. Frankly, the Liberal record on agriculture and rural issues is horrendous. It is appalling. That is part of the reason I went from being an advocate, working on behalf of farmers as a representative of the industry, to wanting to put my name on a ballot and come here. I thought I could do more from the inside to stand up for our rural communities and farmers. That is what I am proudly doing today and will do every day for the rest of my time in this place.

The government seems to think it can rebrand the carbon tax or the rebate cheques to people and that they will somehow change their minds about this. People know better. They know that the carbon tax is failing them in every facet of their life and simultaneously not reducing emissions. We went from being ranked 58th to 62nd in the world because of our environmental outcomes. We have become worse under this government, yet it stands by its failed policies, which are making us all poor.

I would encourage the Liberal MPs who do not have the opportunity to represent farmers and probably deny them meetings when asked to come and explain their situation, to pick up the phone and call a farmer. I will provide a few phone numbers if they want. It will be the best five minutes of their life when they get the chance to ask them what they think about the carbon tax, or better yet, when they ask them why they are paying a carbon tax on drying their grain, why they are drying grain and why they need temperature-controlled barns. They should ask them what they think of the 5% GST they pay on the carbon tax specifically, the revenue-neutral carbon tax that has just collected an extra 5% for the government, which needs it here in Ottawa for its political pet projects more than Canadian farmers and Canadian consumers do, who are paying higher prices at the grocery store.

They would also be able to tell MPs stories about the innovations and strides that have been made by our producers across this country over the last number of decades. It is hard to recognize a farm from a few decades ago, from the improvements in seed and livestock genetics to the vast improvements in equipment and machinery, the tractors and combines, the data collection and the focus on increased yields while reducing emissions. In fact, we have doubled our production in this country since 1997, while our emissions have stayed the same.

That is what we should be looking at. The emissions intensity of our production in this country is something we should be proud of. We are better than other countries around the world at growing food. It is something we should be standing up for. We should be taking down barriers and roadblocks. We should be enabling trade. We should be enabling our producers to sell their products around the world at a profit to reinvest in their own operations and communities. Instead, we focus on anti-competitive measures that push businesses south of the border and make it harder for farmers to make a living in this country.

Our farmers, of all types, are the true conservationists. They are the ones on the ground. They are the ones focused on making sure that their land is better off when they leave it than how they found it, because it makes sense. It is common sense for them to make sure they can maximize production on their land. This land is passed down from generation to generation. They are proud of it, and they want to protect it.

At the end of the day, there is no good reason to support this gutted bill. The farmers know that. Every member in the House absolutely should know that. It should not be about politics. It should not be about the Liberals deciding that 3% of Canadians should get a break on the carbon tax on their home heating oil while our farmers have to pay more because of the Liberals' political hides being on the line.

This is good legislation, as drafted and unamended, to save farmers $1 billion. I urge my colleagues of all political stripes to listen to our farmers and the organizations that represent them, do the right thing, pass this bill without the Senate amendments and send it immediately back to the Senate, which should also do the right thing and pass this legislation as Parliament has asked it to.

TaxationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

October 26th, 2023 / 1:10 p.m.
See context


Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, the next petition I have to present is from Canadians from across the country who are concerned about the tax regime that favours selling a small business or farm to a family member over a stranger. They are concerned that family ownership and long-term business stability is weakened by the current tax rules. The folks who have signed this petition note that small businesses are the backbone of our economy and communities.

The average age of the Canadian farmer in 2016 was 55 years old, and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture estimates that $500 billion in farm assets are set to change hands in the next 10 years. Therefore, the folks who have signed this petition call on the Government of Canada and the House of Commons to support and quickly pass Bill C-208, an act to amend the Income Tax Act, transfer of small business or family farm or fishing corporation, which would ensure that farms and businesses can be transferred to the next generation without having to worry about unfair tax treatment, and to ensure that family-owned small businesses and farms are encouraged, supported and that the red tape would be eliminated.

May 2nd, 2023 / 12:05 p.m.
See context


Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Thank you for your answer, Minister. For years, the EI fund had a surplus, which was shifted to the consolidated revenue fund. Now, however, workers and unemployed people are being penalized. We are anxiously awaiting EI reform, so we can have a system that is truly accessible.

Two years ago, Parliament passed Bill C‑208 in order to stop penalizing owners for passing on their business to a family member, especially a farm. However, people still can't take advantage of those measures, so we are still waiting. Tax experts and accountants in Quebec say they have yet to receive direction from the Canada Revenue Agency, which says that it is waiting for clarification from you. We hear from business owners, families and accountants about it all the time. Is there anything you'd like to say?

April 27th, 2023 / 12:35 p.m.
See context


Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

My next question pertains to the former Bill C‑208, which dealt with the intergenerational transfer of small businesses. This bill came from the opposition. As we know, the purpose of the bill was to stop hurting family transfers by making it no less profitable for a business owner to sell to their children or family members than to a stranger.

The bill received royal assent, but the government then refused to implement it. Wayne Easter was chair of the Standing Committee on Finance at the time. The committee convened during the summer with the aim of reminding the government that it had to implement the bill. The government then said it would do so. However, many family farms and businesses in Quebec are still waiting to make these transfers because the Canada Revenue Agency has not yet directed accountants and lawyers on how to proceed. This has been going on for two years.

During last month's in‑camera meeting, we heard presentations on the budget's legislative proposals, which seemed to include a new law that would replace the old provisions and finally get the ball rolling. I couldn't believe my eyes, however, when I looked through the hundreds of pages in Bill C‑47 and saw that it was nowhere to be found.

Obviously, I'm not going to ask you any questions about the political choices at play here. I'll save those for the Minister of Finance when she decides to appear before the committee. That being said, are there any technical reasons that can explain why the implementation of former Bill C‑208 is not included in Bill C‑47? The bill received royal assent two years ago, the government has committed to implementing it, and we know from the budget documents that the bill is ready.

April 25th, 2023 / 12:45 p.m.
See context


Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Thank you.

Since Bill C‑208 was introduced, we have been getting calls every week from owners of farming businesses and family farms who are postponing transferring their businesses to their children so as not to be penalized from a tax perspective.

I now understand that the rules concerning these transfers do not appear in the current implementation bill, but that could be the case in the fall.

Thank you for your answer, even if it doesn't make me happy.

I am going to come back to a subject addressed earlier, the duplication of the GST credit adopted in Bill C‑46, also called the “grocery rebate”, which is better from a marketing perspective.

Assuming that Bill C‑47 is adopted by the end of the parliamentary session, how would Bill C‑46 speed up payment of this GST cheque?

April 25th, 2023 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

Director General, Legislation, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Lindsay Gwyer

You're referring to the rules related to Bill C-208?

Those rules do not appear in Bill C‑47. In the budget, we published the preliminary legislative provisions that the public can consult. It will be up to the government to make a decision, but it is possible that those rules will be in the bill in the fall.

April 17th, 2023 / 4:25 p.m.
See context


Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Thank you, Madam Chair.

I would like to reiterate some of the things that have been said here in regard to that and maybe add some personal views to this.

For certain, we had witnesses come before this committee in regard to Bill S-245, an act to amend the Citizenship Act regarding the granting of citizenship to certain Canadians. That is the focus of the bill. It was the intent of Senator Yonah Martin, who brought it forward. It was made very clear at this committee that her intent was to have a specific, narrow focus for this particular bill, so that we can at least help someone. There have been years outstanding in this regard.

There are other areas, as my colleagues have just said, and there are other means of dealing with those. We dealt with that at the committee when Ms. Martin was here. I don't know why we're trying to extend it to do this now. I get the fact that we were extending it for 30 days. If the intent is not to bring in anything more than the wording changes that my colleague, the vice-chair and critic in this area, indicated, that's one thing. However, 30 days is a long time when you already have a bill that's very focused on what was requested to be done by the person who brought the bill forward.

I've been on this committee now since fall. I was on it five years ago when we went through a whole list of things. I didn't know my colleague was going to bring up the report today on the 300,000 workers needed in the agricultural industry as well. I come from the agricultural industry, Madam Chair. I can assure you that we dealt with this back in the days of TFWs and the shortage of labour in the agricultural industry then, trying to get people into activities here that could fulfill those spots. A lot of these people we're trying to help are already in Canada. We want to get them their citizenship as quickly as we can.

I would also agree that I'm not very enthralled with the idea of getting citizenship through the click of a button. I really believe that ceremonies mean something. They certainly do. At the citizenship ceremonies I've been at, the people there take them very seriously. They phone my office. We spend about half of our time dealing with citizenship issues in the Brandon area. We're very thankful to be one of the 15 places in Canada, with the Westman Immigrant Services in Brandon, that has been able to focus on the citizenship opportunities that are arising from the rural and northern initiative.

We want to make sure we keep this particular bill. There are lots of other ways of expanding it to those outside of this bill who are not included in it. This is very specific to a certain group of individuals. I think it's very important, even though we've extended it for 30 days, to certainly not use that amount of time to deal with it, when it can be done.... If it it is just wording and corrections to the bill, we can do it somewhat more accessibly. This bill is ready to go, as I say.

The idea of vandalizing the bill is not a threat. I mean, it's about precedent. It's not about whether we like the idea or not, as my colleague and critic from Calgary just indicated. It's about the precedent of what could happen to anybody's bill in the future.

I brought my own bill, Bill C-208, forward about two years ago, I guess. It was in regard to family farm transfers and family business transfers. We did get that consensus through Parliament, but there were talks about changes. The government decided to do that through regulatory mechanisms. We're still studying those because it was just brought in through the budget. We're very thankful that the bill has moved forward. It is active. People are able to use it across Canada.

With the type of bill that's before us, if we don't do this in the manner that has been put forward by the mover of Bill S-245—Senator Martin, herself—then it will likely end up doing what my colleague indicated, which is going back and forth with amendments and ping-ponging back and forth.

Everybody sitting here knows full well that the Senate agreed on this specific wording of this bill. It was the only way it passed the Senate to get here in the first place. I think we should honour the fact that all of the Senate indicated that's the way it should be. It's not just Ms. Martin, even though it's her bill. She was very diligent in making sure she got the consensus of the Senate to bring this bill forward in this manner.

I would say that it's not about the motivation to pass the bill or the motives in passing it. It's about the setting of this precedent for all future private members' bills in the House of Commons.

I think we know what she said and indicated in the bill itself.

There are a number of other issues in areas I pointed out—from the past experience I've had on this committee—that we could be dealing with. My colleagues mentioned some of them already. I've outlined a few more. We travelled extensively in Canada at that time, in order to look at the types of individuals who would be affected by some of the changes required from revamping the whole immigration act.

We're not suggesting we need to do that with this bill. In fact, we're emphatically saying we don't need to do that with this bill. This bill is very well written and focused on its requested outcomes. Therefore, Madam Chair, I'll be voting against the idea of the motion to put forward further amendments to this bill, which may allow for amendments that would be out of the scope of this bill.

Food Day in Canada ActPrivate Members' Business

April 17th, 2023 / 11:30 a.m.
See context


Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is clearly in favour of establishing a food day. It was a pleasure to address this in committee, and it passed within minutes. It is not controversial.

The bill states that “Canada’s national sovereignty is dependent on the safety and security of our food supply”, that it “contributes to our nation’s social, environmental and economic well-being”, that it is important to support local farmers and that local foods need to be celebrated. All that is wonderful.

Unfortunately, I will be a bit of a killjoy this morning, because it is just lip service. Yes, we will vote in favour of the bill because it is important to establish this day. I think that we will be able to use it as a springboard for future initiatives; however, in reality, our agricultural industry is currently suffering. In response to the significant inflationary pressure, the Union des producteurs in Quebec and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture sent out messages and letters and expressly asked for meetings. Their requests were very, very reasonable and based on facts and data. They even made pre-budget requests, because they know how things work. They know when they need to do this.

There was very little in the budget; next to nothing, in fact. There was some clarification about Bill C-208 on farm succession after more than a year of waiting and more than a year of frozen transactions, especially in Quebec. That takes time. That was positive, but as for the rest, all we got were vague figures and the continuation of existing programs that barely work or are not working at all. I will provide some statistics. The people at UPA explained it for us.

The cost of inputs has risen by 43.3% overall, but in agriculture, it is up 69%. Inflation has risen by 55.4% on average, but in agriculture, it is up 64%. That refers to the cost of everything required to produce food. The increase in interest rates and the cost of debt servicing comes to 36.9% overall, but 58.5% in agriculture, because farms have a high debt load. As the previous speaker mentioned, gone are the days of pitchforks; Technologies have evolved and farmers now need tractors, which are expensive. We see farmers working in their fields and we think they are doing fine, but they still have not paid off their equipment. These producers are going into debt to feed us. I really want people to start understanding that, believing it and taking appropriate action.

The costs do not stop there. Transportation costs have risen by 33% in other sectors, but 49.9% in agriculture. Insurance costs have increased by 31.7% overall, but 49.6 % in agriculture. The list goes on. Things have reached a point where two out of 10 farm businesses are now in poor or very poor financial shape. We are talking about 20% of farms. Five out of 10 farm businesses expect their financial situation to deteriorate in the next twelve months. Three out of 10 businesses have a negative residual balance. Things are not going well. Four out of 10 farm businesses report that rising interest rates could prevent them from meeting their financial obligations. For some, this will mean shutting down. More than six out of 10 businesses plan to reduce or delay investments because they are straining just to keep up with their payments. In this kind of situation, investing is out of the question. The government wants these businesses to invest money and says it will help them, but they are tapped out. To grasp the reality of this situation, we have to see what is happening on the ground.

A total of 18% of businesses are considering asking their financial institution for a capital holiday. Do members understand what it means to request a capital holiday from a financial institution? It means that things are going so badly for the business that it will only pay the interest on its loans. What a great future for agricultural production. I think that, as a federal government, we have a role to play in that. I think that we could meet the needs and boost cash flow. What is more, 14% of farms plan to reduce the size of their business because they cannot deliver. Here is the most troubling statistic: 11% of farms plan to cease operations or close their doors. That is more than one in 10 farms.

We are mainly talking here about young farmers, the ones we talk about with a tear in our eye, while saying they are so great and wonderful. Perhaps it is time for us to show them how great and wonderful they really are by helping them. Farming is an ongoing, daily struggle, and we, as elected officials, need to have the utmost respect for these people who work seven days a week.

Given the current shortage of workers in almost every sector, let us survey agricultural businesses to find out who is interested in taking over the farm, in working seven days a week, 12 months a year. Let us find out who is interested in living in uncertainty with little support from governments and in being forced to compete with foreign products that do not meet the same standards.

I do not know how many times we have talked about reciprocity of standards. I want to give a shout-out to my colleague from Beauce, who is leading this fight with me at the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. He often raises this issue. Something needs to be done. We cannot ask our farmers to meet very strict standards yet also let in junk. When they talk about increasing the level of glyphosate in food—like they did last year—when none of our local farmers asked for it, they are sending a very clear message, namely that we will adapt to international standards. That way, people can bring in stock subject to more standards than our farmers' products. Can we be serious for 30 seconds, impose the same requirements and support our people?

Chicken farmers have created a DNA test. It has been around for years, it works and it is ready to go. Why is it not in place yet? The DNA test determines whether the poultry coming in is spent fowl or fresh chicken. There is cheating in international trade. Trade is wonderful; we all need to trade, but that has to be a rigorous process.

We must not forget the most important part. There have been plenty of positive speeches and gestures here in the House of Commons, including overwhelming support from 293 members who voted in favour of the bill to protect supply management in future trade agreements. That is significant. All political parties and the vast majority of MPs supported it. Only 23 people opposed it. However, now the bill is stuck in committee. There is an obvious intent to hijack the bill, and some members are filibustering. They keep talking to kill time. Everyone's time is being wasted.

I would also point out that this is coming from a political party that is always talking about government spending. They have good reason to talk about government spending, but it is important to stop and think for a second about what it costs to have a committee meeting where the same person talks for two hours, delaying a crucial bill that we passed in 2021 but had to start over again because an election was called. Although some progress has been made and we are at roughly the same stage, the bill is currently stuck.

I do not really want to hear anyone say that the bill is going to pass anyway. Are we serious about supporting our producers? Our producers are watching us and watching the public committee meetings. They are not happy. They want transparency and honesty when it comes to support, and they want concrete action. My colleagues know that it is important to be self-sufficient in terms of food security. I talk a lot about food resilience, food sovereignty. It really is important.

In closing, I would like to remind all my colleagues how much this reality hit home during the pandemic. This is a very serious issue. It is not just unpleasant for key sectors to be reliant on outside sources, it is actually very bad. I am talking about medical equipment, masks, ventilators. I am talking about food. That is basic. When we talk about key sectors, feeding the public is the foundation of everything. I am very pleased to support this bill. A food day will be wonderful. It needs to be used as a launch pad for what comes next. Let us do something meaningful and put our words into action.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

February 13th, 2023 / 2:50 p.m.
See context


Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, the next generation of farmers is under threat at a time when the price of land has spiked by 248% in 10 years. The House passed Bill C‑208 some time ago to make it easier to transfer a farm between members of the same family, but no one is benefiting from that because Ottawa keeps promising to amend the legislation without ever actually doing it.

If they sell their farm to their family, as permitted under law, farmers are afraid they will be hit with a tax bill if the federal government changes the rules mid-year.

Can the minister confirm that they will not be retroactively penalized?

Opposition Motion—Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2022 / 5:15 p.m.
See context


Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Madam Speaker, that was a most interesting exchange. Maybe we can get into it later in questions.

Our Conservative Party motion we are debating today is an opportunity for all members of Parliament, even those in the Liberal backbenches, to stand up for their constituents. I know it would take courage, but I urge each and every one of them to do the right thing. If we can pass this motion, it would send a clear message and a strong signal to the Prime Minister that his government needs to get serious about the dramatic rise in the price of food. It would also send a signal to our entire agriculture and agri-food sector that the House of Commons will not sit idly by. We must do everything in our power to stop the Liberal government from making it more expensive for them to produce the food that Canadian consumers rely on.

There is a cost-of-living crisis for millions of Canadians. Our Conservative team gets up every single day in this House to fight for them, and sadly all we hear are empty Liberal talking points with no solutions. Just yesterday the Bank of Canada raised the interest rate another half a percentage point. First-time homebuyers are now paying $500 more a month in monthly payments for the same mortgage they had a year ago, and it now takes 67% of their income to service a traditional mortgage.

With these relentless rate hikes, more and more already struggling Canadians will have to choose between paying their mortgage and putting food on the table. Canadians are out of money, and the Liberal government is out of touch. We can just look at the number of credit card applications this year over last year. A report the other day had it at a 31% increase.

Like all MPs in the House, I am getting emails and calls from moms and dads who are struggling to pay their bills and put food on their tables. I am hearing from seniors who worked decades to save for their retirements, only to see inflation eradicate their income and their financial security. Every time families and seniors go to the grocery store, they get sticker shock. It is expected the average family will pay an additional $1,065 for groceries next year. It is no wonder that one in five Canadians is already skipping meals and a record one and a half million Canadians are visiting food banks every single month.

Our Conservative opposition day motion would not only help reduce the cost of food for families and seniors, it would pour water on the fire of government-induced inflation.

I farmed all my life. It is what I know best. I also represent countless farm families and hear from them every day. They find it reprehensible that the Liberal government is determined to make it more difficult for them to produce the food we eat. It is simply unconscionable that their own government is implementing policies that are making it more expensive for them to farm and stay competitive.

Farmers will never forgive the Liberals for calling them tax cheats, and they will never forget how the Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture voted against my private member's bill, Bill C-208, which my colleague referred to earlier, that made it easier to transfer their farm to the next generation. The one little correction is that it is working. It is out there today and farmers are taking advantage of it, but they are only 3% of the small businesses in Canada. There are 97% of the small businesses in Canada that are not farms, and they are also getting the opportunity to level the playing field, because nobody is getting an advantage here. It is just a levelling of the playing field under Bill C-208.

Returning to the farming industry, farmers are livid that the Liberals recently voted against the Conservative bill to completely exempt them from the carbon tax. We live in Canada, where it gets cold and wet. Farmers need to dry their grain and heat their livestock barns. Farmers are getting punished through no fault of their own.

As the recent “Canada's Food Price Report 2023” stated, a typical 5,000-acre farm, which has been alluded to today many times and of which there are many across the Prairies, will have to pay $150,000 in carbon taxes per year, once the Liberals triple their carbon tax.

When I was a farm leader, I recognized that there is 100 million acres of arable farmland on the Prairies. If that was an average rate, it would require that $3 billion be taken out of the farm pockets and added to the cost of food. I want to remind the Minister of Agriculture that every time the cost of growing food, processing food and transporting food goes up, we see those costs borne out in our grocery store receipts.

Our Conservative motion aims to resolve the long-standing issue of the Liberal carbon tax being one of the cost drivers that is making Canada less competitive and making food more expensive. On the first issue, farmers have seen their input costs soar, which includes energy and fertilizer. With the Liberal carbon tax being applied to many aspects of our agriculture and transportation sectors, it is making farmers less competitive on the world stage.

Lots of farmers in my region experienced a wet spring and had to rely on aerial application services. Those companies pay the Liberal carbon tax, which is passed down to the farmer.

Many farmers get custom haulers to take their grain, oil seeds and pulses to the elevator or their final destination. Those companies pay the Liberal carbon tax, and it is passed down to the farmer.

Most farmers use fertilizer to increase their yields. Those companies that produce and transport the fertilizer pay the Liberal carbon tax, which is passed on to the farmer.

I could go and on, but it is clear that the Liberal government does not know how farmers operate. Almost every product that a farmer needs to purchase to plant a crop, maintain a crop and then harvest a crop gets transported in from somewhere, and the Liberal carbon tax is applied to all of it.

The beef and pork producers in my riding also feel the brunt of the Liberal carbon tax. The trucking companies that haul the supplies they need to run their farms and ship their livestock pay the Liberal carbon tax, and it is passed on to the farmer.

If members are starting to see a trend, it is that a significant portion of our agriculture sector is paying the carbon tax.

As our leader said, our Conservative team wants to repatriate food production by standing with our farmers here at home. The Liberal government's high energy taxes and proposed fertilizer emissions cuts will only drive food production abroad to higher-polluting foreign jurisdictions, which would have them then burn fuel to send that food by ship, train and truck back to us. Our Conservative team wants to repeal these taxes and fertilizer mandates to get out of the way and get off the backs of our farmers.

It is no wonder the Parliamentary Budget Officer said that families are seeing a net loss thanks to the Liberal approach. Families and seniors are getting crushed, and it is time for action. They are tired of the Liberals gaslighting about how much better off they are under the carbon tax rebate scheme.

December 5th, 2022 / 3:30 p.m.
See context


Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I have a few things to say about Bill C‑241.

The Bloc Québécois supports Bill C‑241, as we've said from the beginning. We think it's a good bill. However, some aspects of the bill gave rise to uncertainty.

I'd like to thank the Department of Finance for addressing those issues recently in a letter that it sent to the committee.

The Department of Finance provided a lot of information in response to the concerns that were raised regarding the definitions and interpretation the Canada Revenue Agency will apply in implementing the measures.

In the House, debate at second reading revolves around the principle underlying the bill. What I like about working in a committee is that members of every party can put forward amendments to make the legislation better.

As I recall, I had been pushing the government to do this. Since 2019, I've noticed that the government doesn't seem to think that an opposition member's bill can actually be passed and implemented. Just think of Bill C‑208 in the previous Parliament. The bill, which dealt with the transfer of family businesses, sought to ensure that families would no longer be penalized when a family business stayed in the family instead of being sold to a third party. The government didn't bring forward a bill to do that, saying that it was going to introduce legislation to regulate the whole thing. A year and a half later, still no bill.

Many things in the finance department's response could have been turned into amendments had the government wanted to set parameters and prevent potential abuse.

That didn't happen, and from what I understand, the departments and the Canada Revenue Agency have the latitude they need to interpret how terms will be defined and so forth. To me, that means it's acceptable.

Obviously, I want to underscore to the members of the committee that it is better to make amendments to clarify and strengthen bills.

Personally, I recognize that the department and the agency will bring forward regulations and the relevant definitions. I still support this important bill, and I again want to thank the Department of Finance for providing information that will no doubt provide clarity around the bill's implementation.

Thank you.

Food Day in Canada ActPrivate Members' Business

November 1st, 2022 / 5:55 p.m.
See context


Caroline Desbiens Bloc Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise to speak today, and I would like to say at the outset that the Bloc Québécois is in favour of this bill for several reasons. Obviously, designating the first Monday in August as food day in Canada is a good idea because, at that time, farmers will have just finished haying and the potato harvest is beginning. Thus, it is a very good time to have it. It is also an opportunity to address concerns that are often ignored, which is why such a day is so important.

As a society, we make the mistake of taking the agri-food and agricultural sectors in Quebec and Canada for granted. It would be a good idea to promote them more, to celebrate local food and local cuisine. The country is celebrated first and foremost around the table. It is the same all over the country, so this is a great opportunity to highlight that aspect of our happiness on this land.

Obviously, the pandemic has opened our eyes to serious problems with our food sovereignty, for example in our production chains. As a result, we have discovered that we are highly and seriously dependent on foreign countries for many aspects of our industries.

At the Bloc Québécois, obviously the agriculture and agri-food sector has always been a priority. In Quebec, we are constantly investing in food sovereignty, including by promoting our supply management system and ensuring it is protected. It is an indispensable tool for balancing our agri-food market and a system that is used as a model in several countries around the world. Canada may once again benefit from referring to Quebec on the matter. I do not mean that as a boast; well, maybe a little bit.

There are several ways to go about promoting food sovereignty in Quebec and Canada when it comes to agri-food. First, we need to secure our food chains by changing course with the temporary foreign workers program, for example. We need to make it easier for workers to access our lands. We could promote succession planning in agriculture, for example, by bringing into force Bill C‑208 on taxing the intergenerational transfer of businesses because it is much easier for a farmer to sell to a stranger than to hand over his business to his own son, which is not right. The son invests in his parents' farm his whole life, but they are unable to hand it over because the way the taxation is done does not favour that. We need to help producers and processors innovate and become resilient to climate change. We need to protect critical resources and agriculture and processing facilities from foreign investments, including under the Investment Canada Act. We need to promote human-scale farms by encouraging buying organic and buying local.

I would like to take this opportunity to salute my riding's diverse and exciting agri-food industry, which produces berries, potatoes, ice cider, wine, beer, mouth-watering cheeses and organic pork and poultry on farms all over Île d'Orléans and along the Côte‑de‑Beaupré. Throughout my riding, from Beauport to Baie‑Sainte‑Catherine, our producers' reputation is well established. I could talk about them all afternoon. It would make my colleagues hungry. It is suppertime, after all.

Now I want to talk about an equally important aspect of the agri-food landscape: seafood. Surprisingly, it is easier to buy Quebec's products in the United States or in Europe than in Quebec. Are my colleagues aware that people in Quebec and Canada consume just over 10% of the seafood our fishers harvest and that 90% of the seafood Quebeckers and Canadians consume comes from other countries?

That is appalling. As if that were not bad enough, the food safety and traceability standards that apply to fishers in Quebec and Canada, who export 90% of our resource to Europe and the United States, are significantly higher than those that apply to the imported products that make up 90% of the seafood we eat. We ship our high-quality products out, and then we eat lower-quality things from other countries. That is appalling; it makes my skin crawl.

Simply put, the quality of the food we eat in Canada is not as good as the food we export and that we supply to the international market. Quebeckers and Canadians deserve better.

Following a motion that I moved for that purpose, my fine colleagues on the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, whom I thank for their valuable contributions, and I began a study on labelling and traceability. Many observations were made, some of which were worrisome, others alarming, and still others encouraging. Many solutions, approaches and suggestions were also proposed. All of this resulted in the tabling in the House in June of a report entitled “Traceability and Labelling of Fish and Seafood Products”. The government must urgently implement the committee's 13 recommendations and take real action, not just say that it has taken note of these recommendations, but actually take action.

If we want to know what we are eating and where it came from, we need better labelling and better traceability, from farm to plate for agriculture and also from boat to plate for the fisheries.

Our local products deserve to be in the spotlight. If a chef describes a menu item as “St. Lawrence halibut stuffed with northern deepwater prawns from Matane, Quebec black garlic butter and medley of local Charlevoix vegetables”, people go crazy for it. If it is described as just “shrimp-stuffed halibut”, it is not as popular. That is why it is important to promote our local products and to make them available. I think that is crucial.

When people go to restaurants, they want to eat local, they want to taste locally caught fish. When we eat foods from Quebec and Canada, we appreciate our artisans' and our experts' skill. It sustains us to take pride in discovering the quality of the homegrown products available to us and the often distinctive and exemplary practices of our food producers. We know it will be fresh. We know it is from here. We know minimal food miles mean less pollution. We know our money stays here and helps our own fishers and farmers, who, in turn, spend that money here. Buying local is all about the circular economy, and it is good for everyone. It tastes good, and it is good for society, too.

I also want to talk about by-catch. I had a jarring experience that made no sense in terms food sovereignty, and I have yet to recover from it. Fishermen have permits to fish for shrimp, for example. If they catch some halibut, redfish or squid, they are forced to take the dead fish and throw it overboard, because their permit is for shrimp. It is terrible.

In the Gaspé, if someone wants to have some fresh, local fish, they are told it is impossible. The fish they are serving comes from Norway and the shrimp comes from China. I still cannot believe it. I want the House to be aware of this very important aspect. Perhaps permits could be expanded and made more flexible, so that fishermen with by-catch could redistribute it in the area.

The Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has done a lot of studies. We are completing a study on the right whale and are starting to realize that the expertise and knowledge of our fishers are not always truly taken into consideration. They are not always closely listened to, and yet they have concrete solutions to better understand the right whale.

In closing, everyone has to eat, so we might as well do so responsibly, taking into account our environmental footprint and the social and economic impacts of our choices.

Let us be proud of our local products, our producers, farmers, fishers and food artisans. Let us promote their products, within a balance of supply and demand, before opening up to foreign markets, which are necessary, of course, although they must not control our own supply or affect our market prices, since that would have a serious impact on our food sovereignty.

Food Day in Canada ActPrivate Members' Business

November 1st, 2022 / 5:15 p.m.
See context


Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to this bill. I would like to announce at the outset that the Bloc Québécois agrees that the first Monday in August should be designated food day in Canada.

There are a lot of interesting things in the bill's preamble. I think they are worth mentioning. First, it says that sovereignty is dependent on the safety and security of our food supply. It is important to keep that in mind. If we cannot feed ourselves, we cannot defend ourselves and survive.

It also states that strengthening connections from farms to tables of Canadian cuisine contributes to our nation's social, environmental and economic well-being. The closer we can bring production to the consumer, the more we will reduce the environmental impact. This cannot be done for everything, and we are not talking about extreme measures here, but it must be done as much as possible.

The next point, support for local farmers, is music to my ears. We have to provide adequate support to the people who feed us. We cannot expect them to cope with the vagaries of annual production alone. Just a few minutes ago, I was talking to a farmer who explained to me that all the extra precipitation this spring had a devastating impact on the entire season; it was so long ago that people have forgotten. Farmers had to redo their drainage to prevent future flooding. There may be years when there is not enough water. That kind of instability and unpredictability are reason enough for us to take good care of our people.

The last part of the preamble states that the people of Canada will benefit from a food day in Canada to celebrate local food. That sounds great to me. As I said, we support the bill.

In any conversation about agriculture and agri-food, food sovereignty is bound to come up. We hear that expression a lot. It is a bit overworked and gives people the impression that we are trying to be entirely self-sufficient. That is not the idea. It might be better to talk about food resiliency than food sovereignty. The idea is to ensure that we can feed our population and that farming remains a viable occupation going forward. That involves a number of factors.

I will start with temporary foreign workers. Everyone knows that our agricultural production is now dependent on this essential and valuable workforce. It is also a great way to redistribute wealth around the world. When these workers return home, they take a good income with them and a different kind of wealth and drive. It is a win-win situation. For us, it means production can continue. Otherwise, the crops would remain in the field.

However, we have to smarten up. We have been saying for years that this is not working. Quebec has asked to have full management of this program to make it more efficient, so that only one level of government manages it. I think this is a good idea. I invite Parliament to consider this option very seriously. In the meantime, there are things that can be done, like improving processing times. Why does it take so long to renew a permit? When the same worker has been coming back for 12 years, why are all the security steps repeated? It is completely ridiculous and appallingly inefficient.

I am talking about agriculture because the debate is on a food day, but there is growing number of sectors that are using foreign workers, including the entire tourism sector. We need to facilitate these operations. We need to acknowledge the state of the employment market in Quebec and Canada, this shortage that is affecting us, and recognize that we need these people. Let us be effective. Let us welcome them. It is a win-win, as I was saying.

The second point I want to address is succession planning in agriculture. I look at the governing party across the way. The Speaker does not want me to address them directly, but I am looking at them and asking them when they will adjust Bill C‑208, which was democratically voted on in the last Parliament and crossed every stage, including the Senate.

Members know that the Senate is not my favourite institution, and the senators I know are also aware of that. However, it is part of the process. The bill was approved everywhere and it must be implemented. Officially, it has been, but the minister and the government have raised some uncertainty about the transfer of these family farms that is causing significant harm to our Quebec businesses.

I have said it many times here in the House: Financial advisors recommend that our farmers wait before transferring their family farm because they are concerned about the amendment that the Liberal government wants to make.

The new alliance is like a majority government. They can do anything. I am therefore asking them to shed some light on this so that we can see what is happening and where things are going. This bill was passed and no one should be preventing it from being implemented. Our next generation of farmers is important.

We spoke about our local production and feeding people. I would be remiss if I failed to mention supply management. Every time I rise, I have to mention it at least once, and I am going to talk about it again.

It is a great system that allows self-regulation within markets, and it costs nothing. These folks are not going to come up to us and ask for subsidies, because they are self-regulated and the system works perfectly. All the Canadian government has been doing for these people for the past ten years is hurting them by giving foreign countries access to these markets, which were working very well.

The principle behind supply management is about controlling the entry of goods. If the entry of goods is not controlled, it does not work. When nearly 20% of the market, for example in the dairy industry, comes from abroad, if our local producers reduce their production in a particular context, for example COVID-19, if foreign countries continue to bring in the 20%, then control no longer works. I will say it again today: We are dealing with a government that appears set on gradually eliminating this system because it does not have the courage to assume the political cost of making that decision.

We are hearing lofty words. The government says it will protect supply management, there is no problem and no more concessions will be made. If that is true, then the government can readily vote as it did the last time. I again congratulate the government and I invite it to start over. The last time, it voted in favour of our bill. If not for the unnecessary election in the midst of a pandemic, the law would probably be in effect already. Therefore, I am asking that we deal with this quickly, because it is an important sector.

The motion also mentions the environment. People increasingly want to eat healthy and organic products, but this does not exclude other products and other techniques. I believe that we must pay attention to our organic industry. Paying attention means continuing to identify foods that have been genetically modified, even with the new techniques.

As we know, there was a minor controversy recently. The Bloc Québécois does not oppose innovation, but is in favour of transparency. People must be able to choose what they eat and they need the relevant information when they eat something.

We are talking about local production, but of course we engage in international trade and will continue to do so. One thing we should do is implement reciprocal standards. Why do we allow products in if they do not meet the standards that apply to our own producers?

Something about that does not make sense. Why are we not making it possible for our consumers to know exactly what they are buying?

I challenge my colleagues to figure out where the chicken in the frozen chicken pot pie they buy at the grocery store tomorrow comes from. I challenge them to give it a try. It is not easy. Appropriate food origin labelling requires traceability. Some companies have come up with interesting innovations in that respect.

My colleague on the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans is also working on this. These are great ideas.

I see that my time is up. I therefore invite all my colleagues to joyfully and happily pass this bill.