On Nov. 24, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released a new report, Cultivating a Fertile Foundation, which provides Ontario agri-business owners’ views on the economy, regulatory burden, business risk management programs, harmonized sales tax (HST), potential unionization of farm workers, and employment standards.
“There’s no doubt agri-business owners are facing many challenges and feeling the impact of a number of factors such as high input costs and a volatile Canadian dollar. CFIB’s small business optimism numbers (Business Barometer®) for October reveal that agriculture is by far the most pessimistic sector in the country,” said CFIB’s vice-president of agri-business Marilyn Braun-Pollon.
“While we realize there is little government can do to solve many of these global problems, it certainly can take steps to improve the tax and regulatory environment in which agri-businesses operate,” added CFIB’s senior policy analyst, Plamen Petkov. “The Ontario government can also address some of the uncertainty facing Ontario agri-business owners by continuing to fight the threat of unionization of farm workers, and ensuring Employment Standards Act exemptions remain in place.”
The report makes a number of recommendations that will help build a strong agri-business sector:
– continue to reduce the regulatory and paper burden;
– continue to reduce the total tax burden, make the HST reform a win for farmers by reducing the combined HST rate and increasing the small business transition credit;
– continue to fight the threat of unionization of farm workers;
– ensure Employment Standards Act exemptions remain in place for farm operations; and
– make necessary changes to Business Risk Management programs to ensure they are transparent, accessible, predictable and timely.
“We hope governments will give careful consideration to the recommendations contained in our report to ensure Ontario’s agriculture sector grows and prospers in the decades to come,” concluded Braun-Pollon.
To view Cultivating a Fertile Foundation in full, visit: www.cfib.ca. CFIB is the business voice for agriculture, with 6,500 independently owned and operated agri-businesses in the country, of which 1,800 are in Ontario.