Jan. 20, 2012 — Farmers in Canada are hit the hardest by government regulations and paperwork, according to research released today by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
On the final day of Red Tape Awareness Week™, a CFIB survey shows that 23 per cent of farmers say that if they had known about the burden of regulations, they may not have gone into business.
“Which prompts two questions,” says Virginia Labbie, CFIB’s senior policy analyst for Agri-business. “What would happen to food prices if nearly a quarter of farms in Canada disappeared? And, how many businesses never start because of the regulatory burden?”
Farmers list an alphabet soup of regulations and agencies they have to deal with, including:
• Land use restrictions and bylaws.
• Product labelling.
• Traceability and age verification requirements.
• Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
• Canada Border Services Agency (i.e. border and trade rules).
• Statistics Canada.
• Pest Management Regulatory Agency.
“When nearly 40 per cent of farmers are planning to retire in the next 10 years, flooding the sector with red tape will only make it harder to find buyers to keep those businesses going,” says Labbie.
Farmers want all levels of government to place a higher priority on cutting red tape (72 per cent), than on any other measure (including tax relief at 68 per cent) to help them compete and remain in business.
This should come as no surprise to policy makers. When asked how the burden had changed during a three-year period, 67 per cent of farmers reported an increase in regulatory requirements, more than any other type of small business in Canada.
“With governments in the midst of finalizing a plan to support the future of agriculture in Canada, taking immediate action to reduce the regulatory burden will allow farmers to continue to provide consumers with high-quality, homegrown food,” says Labbie.
What does ‘Red Tape’ mean to you? Check out CFIB’s video on what it looks like to one agri-business owner in Moose Jaw.
CFIB is a business voice for agriculture, representing 7,200 independently owned and operated agri-businesses in Canada, the majority of which are primary producers.