2018 Resolutions

Information taken from the 2018 Report Card on the Resolutions

Resolution 1-18: Environmental Stream Funding of the Agricultural Service Board Grant

Resolution 2-18: Appeals to the Minister Under the Weed Control Act and Agricultural Pests Act

Resolution 3-18: Requirement to Report Certain Pests to the Local Authority

Resolution 4-18: Weed Control on Alberta Vacant Public Lands Within Green Areas

Resolution 5-18: Wildlife Predator Compensation Program Enhancement

Resolution 6-18: Review of Agricultural Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) Crop Insurance Program

Resolution 7-18: Crop Insurance for Alberta Fruit Producers

Resolution 8-18: Increasing Limits for Farm Direct Marketing of Chickens for All Farm Direct Producers – DEFEATED

Resolution 9-18: Farm Direct Marketing of Eggs and Products Using Eggs

Resolution 10-18: Proposed Federal Tax Changes

Resolution 11-18: Organic Food Testing and Labeling

Resolution 12-18: Chemical Control of Wireworms – DEFEATED

RESOLUTION 1-18

ENVIRONMENTAL STREAM FUNDING OF THE AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARD GRANT

WHEREAS Rural Municipalities receive grant funding from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry through the Environmental Stream of the Agricultural Service Board Grant;

WHEREAS the funding is used by Rural Municipalities to provide Extension and Education to Producers for Best Management Practices of Sustainable Agriculture activities at the grass roots level;

WHEREAS the Environmental Stream of the Agricultural Service Board Grant provides funding to Rural Municipalities for three years;

WHEREAS Municipalities rely on this funding to hire staff to provide Extension and Education to Producers at a Grass Roots Level but have a three to four month period when the funding is complete (December 31) and the new Grant application is confirmed (March 31) based on the Provincial Budget;

WHEREAS Municipalities with Extension and Education Programs would like to ensure that their programs continue to benefit Producers and that professional staff hired to manage the programs are retained;

WHEREAS the Municipal Government Act Section 269 states that the Financial Year of a Municipality is the calendar year and the Agricultural Service Board Grant Program Agreement states that the term means the time period for the Program, being January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2019 and not the Provincial Government fiscal year of April 1 until March 31;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST

that the funding provided by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry align with the Provincial Government’s fiscal year of April 1 until March 31 to ensure that Rural Municipalities are able to maintain their Extension and Education Programs while retaining professional staff.

STATUS: Provincial

RESPONSE
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
The 2017/2019 Agricultural Service Board Grant Program is composed of two funding streams: the Legislative Funding Stream, which supports legislative activities, and the Environmental Funding Stream, which supports environmental activities. The payment terms for both funding streams are the same, as outlined in the program Terms and Conditions and grant agreements. The term of the current three-year agreements are January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2019. Consequently, no changes are being considered until the next agreement.

Agriculture and Forestry understands that grant program funding is important to each municipality, and that a delay puts a strain on the municipality and their staff who rely on these funds. The Department is willing to work with the Agricultural Service Board Provincial Committee and their representatives to determine if moving from a calendar year to a government fiscal year will prevent future funding delays.

Grade: Accept in Principle

Comments: The Committee will put this request forward when the terms of the next grant agreement are negotiated. Funding can’t be released until after April 1st so the Committee feels there is a need for further discussion as to whether it will make a difference to switch to using a government fiscal year for the program. There is also concern about how the Municipal Government Act (MGA) might influence how the grant agreements must be set up as the MGA states that the Financial Year of a Municipality is the calendar year in Section 269. The Committee feels that including this resolution as part of the discussion for the 2020-2022 grant program details makes the most sense as there is opportunity to review all aspects of the grant program to improve it at that time. The Committee appreciates this resolution being brought forward at this time.

RESOLUTION 2-18
APPEALS TO THE MINISTER UNDER THE WEED CONTROL ACT AND AGRICULTURAL PESTS ACT

WHEREAS Agricultural Fieldmen must be qualified persons, and Agricultural Appeal Committees are appointed by each municipality and consist of individuals with local agricultural knowledge;

WHEREAS Pest and Weed issues need to be dealt with in a timely manner to prevent their establishment and spread;

WHEREAS Considering that current technology offers near instantaneous communication, determining an appeal should be possible within a reasonable time frame;

WHEREAS The local appeal committee has a specific deadline of 5 days to hear and determine appeals under the Weed Control Act and the Agricultural Pests Act;

WHEREAS The local municipality, as well as the landowner/occupant needs to know if an appeal is to be confirmed, varied or rescinded to allow for proper control decisions regarding agronomic and environmental factors;

WHEREAS There are examples from around the Province where the Minister has taken from 6 months to an excess of a year to hear and determine an appeal;

WHEREAS The Minister of Agriculture and Forestry has no specific deadline to hear and determine appeals under the Weed Control Act or Agricultural Pests Act;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry amend the Weed Control Act and the Agricultural Pests Act and applicable Regulations to give the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry 30 days to hear and determine appeals.

STATUS: Provincial

RESPONSE
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry recognizes that weeds and agricultural pests are an important issue to the economy and environment of Alberta. The Government of Alberta is committed to the control of weeds listed on the Alberta Weed Control Regulation and pests listed on the Pest and Nuisance Control Regulation. Agriculture and Forestry supports the efforts of local municipalities in the control of regulated weeds and agricultural pests.
Both the appeal process and the Ministerial review process are important elements of legislative schemes of the Alberta Weed Control Act and the Alberta Agricultural Pests Act. As such, these processes must be transparent, objective, robust and evidence-based. Careful consideration must be given to all appeals under the Weed Control Act and the Agricultural Pests Act due to the potential for setting precedents that may impact the province.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry also recognizes timing can be an important consideration in the hearing and determination of appeals under the Weed Control Act and the Agricultural Pests Act. We are committed to a review process that is as timely and effective as possible, given the specific context. Consideration of appeal timelines must be balanced with the overall purpose and structure of the legislation, the issues at hand in any given review, and the overall priorities and timing of the Department.

Grade: Unsatisfactory

Comments: The Committee graded this resolution as Unsatisfactory as they felt that the response answered the resolution, but it did not meet their expectations. The Committee discussed this issue with the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry in August and were told that Agriculture and Forestry is currently looking at the process for the Minister to review appeals under the Weed Control Act and Agricultural Pests Act and looking for ways to simplify the process. The Deputy Minister requested that the Committee follow up with department staff in two months on this issue. The Committee will continue to advocate for this change to be made to the Acts.

RESOLUTION 3-18
REQUIREMENT TO REPORT CERTAIN PESTS TO THE LOCAL AUTHORITY

DEFEATED AT THE 2018 ASB PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE

WHEREAS There are examples, historically and currently where organisms designated as Pests under the Agricultural Pests Act and Regulation have been found by individual landowners and occupants, as well as by agronomists and private Pest Control companies which were not reported to the local authority;

WHEREAS It would greatly assist the local authority in being able to (per Section 6 of the Agricultural Pests Act) “take active measures to prevent the establishment of, or to control or destroy, pests in the municipality” if a requirement to report the pests when found existed;

WHEREAS There is no provision in the current Agricultural Pests Act requiring the reporting of pests to the local authority;

WHEREAS If not reporting a pest when found was listed as an offence it could be dealt with per Section 23 under “Offences and Penalties”;

WHEREAS It would be advisable to also amend Schedule 1 Part 1 of the Pest and Nuisance Control Regulation identifying the specific pests which require notification to the local authority;

WHEREAS Notifying the local authority of the pests Norway Rat and any other rat species derived from the Genus Rattus, Wild boar when at large as well as Clubroot would improve the local authority’s ability to deal with these, and benefit the people, agricultural industry and enhance environmental protection of the province;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry amend the Agricultural Pests Act and applicable Regulations to require all persons to report any instances of Norway rat, Wild boar when at large as well as Clubroot to the local authority.

FURTHER THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry amend the Agricultural Pest Acts and applicable Regulations making it an offence to not report the aforementioned specific pests to the local authority.

RESOLUTION 4-18
WEED CONTROL ON ALBERTA VACANT PUBLIC LANDS WITHIN GREEN AREAS

WHEREAS Weeds cause significant changes to ecosystems resulting in economic harm to our agricultural and recreational industries;

WHEREAS Weeds are legislated under Alberta’s Weed Control Act and seriously threaten the viability of lands if not properly managed;

WHEREAS Weeds are known to disrupt and potentially destroy natural habitats, putting wildlife habitat at risk;

WHEREAS While some invasive plant monitoring and control is occurring within Alberta Environment and Parks managed land, it should be extended to all lands held within ownership of the Ministry;

WHEREAS Alberta Environment and Parks Business Plan 2017-2020 Outcome One, commits to “work with strategic partners to conserve landscapes representative of Alberta’s natural regions and ecosystems that protect biodiversity and provide habitat for common, vulnerable and endangered species” ;

WHEREAS Alberta Environment and Parks Business Plan 2017-2020, Outcome Four, Key Strategies 4.14 states “Develop and implement plans and programs to anticipate and minimize impacts of catastrophic events and to protect communities, including: a framework to address invasive species in Alberta” ;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST

Alberta Environment and Parks immediately implement a permanent program, with adequate allocation of staff and funds for weed control on vacant public lands within green areas as part of a comprehensive framework to address invasive species in Alberta.

STATUS: Provincial

RESPONSE
Alberta Environment and Parks
I am pleased to report that Environment and Parks is looking to provide additional resources in support of weed control efforts in the Green Area for 2018-19. We are very aware that weeds can cause significant impacts to both the environment and the economy if they are not adequately controlled.
In the interim, Environment and Parks will continue to work in partnership with municipalities in the White Area to fund high-priority weed control projects on vacant public lands, as well as the bed and shore of water bodies. These projects include monitoring, spraying, biocontrol and hand-picking activities designed to eradicate or control site-specific infestations on public land. If the municipality is not willing the partner with Environment and Parks, the department contracts third-party licensed contractors, which generally results in higher weed control costs and involved additional department staff time, ultimately reducing the size of area the department can complete weed control on.

Grade: Incomplete

Comments: The Committee graded this resolution Incomplete as the response did not address the development of a comprehensive framework for weed control in green areas or allocation of staff. A letter has been sent to Environment and Parks requesting additional information regarding staff and how a new framework would work. No response has been received to date.

RESOLUTION 5-18
WILDLIFE PREDATOR COMPENSATION PROGRAM ENHANCEMENT

WHEREAS Predation by carnivores and birds of prey continues to be a problem for ranchers and agriculture producers;

WHEREAS Many Municipalities have submitted multiple resolutions in this regard for these same problems;

WHEREAS To maintain the credibility of the program, livestock losses must be confirmed by Fish and Wildlife Officers, as killed or injured by predators;

WHEREAS The protection of life and property is a priority for the provincial government, which means providing a response to reports of problem wildlife, may sometimes shift the efforts of Fish and Wildlife Officers away from the predator control mandate;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST

that the Ministers of Environment and Parks, Justice and Solicitor General, and all other relevant government ministries implement an enhanced Predator Compensation Program that could utilize trained Municipal Problem Wildlife staff to assist in the confirmation of livestock loss, both livestock death and livestock injury in a timely and prompt manner.

STATUS: Provincial

RESPONSE
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
To maintain the credibility of the program, livestock losses must be confirmed by Fish and Wildlife Officers as killed or injured by predators. The protection of life and property is a priority for our government, which means providing a response to reports of problem wildlife may sometimes shift the efforts of Fish and Wildlife Officers away from the predator control mandate.

Alberta Environment and Parks
I am also pleased to report that additional resources and tools to assist ranchers in reporting suspected predation cases will be rolled out in 2018. Currently, Environment and Parks, and Justice and Solicitor General are reviewing public services related to nuisance wildlife, including the delivery elements of the Wildlife Predator Compensation Program. Any significant changes to the services will involve stakeholder engagement and consultation.
On an annual basis, department staff evaluate the field investigative response times for the Wildlife Predator Compensation Program. Only on rare occasions do response times exceed the operating protocols, and measures are taken to ensure that the livestock owner is not denied compensation due to any delay in response. To maintain the credibility of the program, livestock losses must be confirmed by Fish and Wildlife as killed or injured by predators.
Ultimately, most municipalities in Alberta do not experience a significant number of cases of predation on livestock by eligible predators (the annual provincial total is around 300-400 investigations). Supplemental investigative staff, such as seasonal problem wildlife technicians, are stationed in those municipalities which receive the highest number of predation occurrences on an annual basis.

Alberta Justice and Solicitor General
Alberta Justice and Solicitor General’s response was included with the response from Alberta Environment and Parks.

Grade: Accept in Principle

Comments: The Committee graded this response as Accept in Principle as they will continue to follow this resolution to see what additional resources and tools Alberta Environment provides to farmers and ranchers in 2018 regarding predation investigations. The response indicated that the program is under review and that there will be stakeholder engagement and consultation. The Committee is preparing to be part of the consultation process and will notify all ASBs when the consultation starts.

RESOLUTION 6-18
REVIEW OF AGRICULTURE FINANCIAL SERVICES CORPORATION (AFSC) CROP INSURANCE PROGRAM

WHEREAS Drought conditions in 2015 resulted in many farmers needing to harvest crops for feed, but AFSC was unable to complete adjustments in time to salvage quality feed;

WHEREAS 2016 and 2017 had severe weather events which prevented Alberta crop producers from being able to harvest and seed their crops;

WHEREAS Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) reported that 960,000 acres of cropland were snowed under and unharvested in 2016 and further excessive precipitation in spring left 618,000 acres of cropland unseeded in 2017;

WHEREAS Assessments of crop harvest of 2015 and 2016 demonstrated that the current AFSC Crop Insurance process of harvest inspections is not working effectively;

WHEREAS AFSC Crop insurance payments are not covering producer costs of production;

WHEREAS AFSC Crop insurance premiums are unaffordable relative to the returns available through insurance;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) and AFSC work collaboratively to review and revamp AFSC’s Annual Crop Production Insurance products and processes.

FURTHER THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that AF and AFSC review procedures for conducting assessments for severe weather events to expedite claims processing.

FURTHER THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that AF and AFSC annually review production costs and unseeded acreage benefits to align with current production costs.

STATUS: Provincial

RESPONSE

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

The crop insurance program delivered by AFSC is reviewed internally through producer consultations on an annual basis to ensure the program design and
delivery remain relevant to both producers and government. Crop insurance is a production guarantee where the yield coverage is based on an individual’s yield history. This yield coverage is then multiplied by a spring insurance price to establish “dollar coverage”. This amount will vary depending on commodity prices and input costs.

Premium rates are based on actuarially sound methods designed to ensure that the program breaks even over a 25-year time horizon. Premium rates are cost shared between producers, the federal government, and the Government of Alberta. It is also important to recognize that both levels of government pay for all the administrative costs of delivering crop insurance.

Agriculture Financial Services Corporation
The crop insurance program delivered by AFSC is reviewed internally through producer consultations on an annual basis to ensure the program design and delivery remain relevant to both producers and government. In addition, every five years the program is also reviewed nationally as part of the discussions leading up to the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Agriculture Policy Framework. The most recent framework, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) takes effect on April 1, 2018. In the preamble to your resolution you refer to some situations that you feel warrant review, specifically:

  • The ability to conduct claims in a timely manner;
  • The programs response to the extreme moisture conditions in parts of the province in 2016 and 2017;
  • The relationship between costs of production and insurance coverage; and
  • The cost of crop insurance relative to expected returns.


I will address these concerns in the order they were raised:

Firstly, AFSC has processes in place to ensure that insured producers are able to do whatever they feel is appropriate with their crops. Producers who would like to put their crop up for feed, or any other alternate use, are required to contact their local AFSC office. Once they have contacted the office an Adjuster will be assigned to conduct a pre-harvest inspection to assess the yield of the crop. Once this has occurred, the crop is released and the producer is free to put the crop to an alternate use. If the volume of claims is high and AFSC is not able to get an adjuster to the farm within a reasonable amount of time, producers can leave representative strips which can be used to assess the yield.

In the fall of 2016 and the winter of 2017, there was a concern expressed by producers that AFSC would delay producers from being able to conduct their spring harvest and subsequent seeding operations. AFSC responded by developing expedited adjusting procedures and communicating with producers through public meetings, media and regular conference calls with representatives of all the primary commodity groups.

These expedited procedures were effective in working through claims quickly without unduly delaying harvest and seeding operations.

There was also a concern that the coverage available under crop insurance does not cover the costs of production. As you are aware, crop insurance is a production guarantee where the yield coverage is based on an individual’s yield history. This yield coverage is then multiplied by a spring insurance price to establish “dollar coverage”. When we compare the 2015 AF AgriProfit$ direct expenses for the four major crops to the average coverage on dryland, we find that in crop insurance coverage exceeded direct expenses by 11 percent. This amount will vary depending on commodity prices and input costs.

The last concern mentioned was crop insurance premiums are unaffordable relative to returns. Alberta has experienced generally good growing conditions recently and as a result premiums have been coming down with a further provincial reduction coming in 2018. Premium rates are based on actuarially sound methods designed to ensure that the program breaks even over a 25 year time horizon. Also, premium rates are cost shared between producers, the federal government and the Government of Alberta with producers paying between 35 percent and 50 per cent of the cost depending on the coverage level elected. It is also important to recognize that both levels of government pay for all the administrative costs of delivering crop insurance. Crop insurance should not be evaluated on the basis of a return on investment but rather a way to transfer some of the risk associated with crop production in Alberta.

AFSC believes the programs are relevant and effective based on input from producers; however, there are always opportunities for improvement and we would welcome an opportunity to sit down and discuss these opportunities with your organization.

Grade: Unsatisfactory

Comments: The Committee graded this resolution as Unsatisfactory as they felt the responses technically answered the resolution, but it did not meet their expectations. The Committee feels that there are still problems with the current system and is working on arranging a meeting with AFSC to discuss this resolution in more detail and advocate for additional changes to how claims are assessed and processed.

RESOLUTION 7-18
CROP INSURANCE FOR ALBERTA FRUIT PRODUCERS

WHEREAS The local food movement is growing in Alberta and local producers are marketing fruit directly to consumers through u-pick operations, farmers markets and community supported agriculture;

WHEREAS The Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) does not at this time provide crop insurance for fruit production (multiple year crops in Alberta);

WHEREAS Fruit production in Alberta is subject to the same climate issues as annual crops;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) review its AgriInsurance Products list and consider providing crop insurance coverage for fruit producers in Alberta including saskatoons, haskap, strawberries, raspberries, sour cherries, currants and other fruit and change their AgriInsurance Products listing to include multi-year or long-term crops.

STATUS: Provincial

RESPONSE

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

AFSC is willing to work with any producer organization to develop risk management products for any commodity, including fruit. There are, however, some data requirements that need to be met to allow AFSC to establish coverages and premium rates.

AFSC is willing to meet with the group representing fruit growers to assess the feasibility of developing an insurance program for the fruit sector.

Agriculture Financial Services Corporation

AFSC is willing to work with any producer organization to develop risk management products for any commodity including fruit. There are, however, some data requirements that need to be met to allow us to establish coverages and premium rates. We would suggest that a meeting be arranged between the group representing fruit growers and AFSC to assess the feasibility of developing an insurance program for the fruit sector.

Grade: Accept the Response

Comments: The Committee is pleased that AFSC has indicated that they will work with Fruit Growers to create a program to meet their needs. The Committee will assist Fruit Growers to arrange a meeting with AFSC to start development of an insurance program to meet the needs of the fruit sector.

RESOLUTION 8-18
INCREASING LIMITS FOR FARM DIRECT MARKETING OF CHICKENS FOR ALL FARM DIRECT PRODUCERS

DEFEATED AT THE 2018 ASB PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE

WHEREAS The local food movement is growing in Alberta and local producers are marketing directly to consumers through famers’ markets, on-farm stores, community supported agriculture programs, etc. with locally grown fruits, vegetables, and proteins;

WHEREAS There needs to be fairness for all farm direct marketers for selling local food directly to consumers;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the Alberta Chicken Producers allow non-communal groups to produce, market, and consume up to 6,000 chickens in a calendar year.

RESOLUTION 9-18
FARM DIRECT MARKETING OF EGGS AND PRODUCTS USING EGGS

WHEREAS The local food movement is growing in Alberta and local producers are marketing protein and baked goods directly to consumers through u-pick operations, farmers’ markets and community supported agriculture;

WHEREAS Uninspected eggs cannot be used to produce processed products such as pickled eggs or baked goods that will be sold at any marketing venue including farmers markets’ but uninspected, whole eggs can be sold directly to consumers for their own personal use as long as it is the farmer selling their own eggs;

WHEREAS Egg Farmers of Alberta Marketing Regulation allows only the ownership of 300 hens for farm direct marketers;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the Egg Farmers of Alberta review its Poultry and Poultry Products Regulations to allow farm direct marketers to use their own uninspected eggs in their processed products provided these products are sold direct to the end consumer and that the farm direct marketer follow standard food safety handling procedures.

FURTHER THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Egg Farmers of Alberta review its Poultry and Poultry Products Regulations to allow farm direct marketers to increase the ownership from 300 hens to 600 hens.

STATUS: Provincial

RESPONSE

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry


The Purchase and Sale of Eggs and Processed Egg Regulation states that uninspected eggs can be sold direct from the producer to the end consumer for their own or household consumption. The sale of uninspected eggs can occur in any location and not just through Alberta approved farmers’ markets.

All commercial food establishments, with the exception of Alberta approved farmers’ markets, must obtain their food from approved sources that are subject to inspection as per Part 2, Section 23, of the Alberta Food Regulation. Uninspected eggs are not expressly prohibited as an ingredient at Alberta approved farmers’ markets as per Part 3 of the Alberta Food Regulation. The Alberta Food Regulation is under review by Alberta Health.

If the Purchase and Sale of Eggs and Processed Egg Regulation were amended to allow producers to use their own uninspected eggs in their processed food products destined for sale to end consumers, these products would only be allowed to be offered for sale at Alberta approved farmers’ markets.

Explore Local, the Department’s New Venture Specialists, and the Alberta Approved Farmers’ Market Program can assist with communication if changes are implemented.

Egg Farmers of Alberta
The Egg Farmers of Alberta Board of Directors (EFA) has reviewed the Agricultural Service Board (ASB) Resolution 9: Farm Direct Marketing of Eggs and Products Using Eggs, and has reached the following conclusions.

With regards to the first point, concerning the use of uninspected eggs for processing, the ASB will need to consult with the Government of Alberta, since this item falls under the Purchase and Sale of Eggs and Processed Egg Regulation. EFA does not have jurisdiction over this regulation.

With regards to the second point, concerning the number of laying hens allowed to be owned by unregulated producers, EFA has decided to maintain the current limit of 300 hens. Alberta is proud to provide the broadest access for unregulated producers anywhere in Canada, having the highest allowance (less than 300 laying hens) without any caps or other special rules. Other provinces have limits as low as 99 hens, while some provinces allow up to 500 hens for a very limited number of people drawn at random each year.

The intention of the regulation is to balance the management of the provincial egg industry with the ability for individuals to produce food for personal consumption. The regulations were not designed to provide an opportunity to commercialize hobby farming. If an individual wants to raise more hens for commercial purposes, then they are encouraged to take the necessary steps to become a registered egg farmer and join the Alberta egg industry, which includes: holding quota, adhering to mandatory guidelines such as the national Animal Care Program and the national food safety program Start Clean – Stay Clean TM.

Our staff would be happy to answer any questions regarding joining Egg Farmers of Alberta.

Grade: Accept the Response

Comments: The Committee felt that the responses answered the resolution and no further follow up is needed.

RESOLUTION 10-18
PROPOSED FEDERAL TAX CHANGES

WHEREAS On July 18, 2017, the Department of Finance Canada began consultation with Canadians on “Tax Planning Using Private Corporations”;

WHEREAS The “Tax Planning Using Private Corporations” consultation period was only from July 18, 2017 to October 2, 2017 which did not allow farmers an adequate opportunity to consult with financial professionals and provide informed input into the consultation;

WHEREAS In October 2017, Honourable Minister Morneau announced certain changes to the initial proposal but no details of changes have been released;


WHEREAS The “Tax Planning Using Private Corporations” document proposes significant changes to Lifetime Capital Gains Deduction, Income Sprinkling and other rules related to corporations and trusts that will have significant impact on family farms and other rural businesses;

WHEREAS The proposed changes threaten the viability of farmers and their family farms and have potential implications for the amount of tax farmers pay and could penalize farmers for trying to keep family farms within the family by establishing farm corporations;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARD REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and the Premier of Alberta advocate for the Family Farm and small businesses of Alberta to revoke the proposed tax changes in the “Tax Planning Using Private Corporations” document released by Department of Finance Canada on July 18, 2017.

STATUS: Provincial

RESPONSE

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

The Department of Finance Canada released the “Proposed Tax Changes for Private Corporations”, which address three tax practices, including Income Sprinkling, Passive Investment Income, and Capital Gains. These changes were released to the public on July 18, 2017, with a 75-day consultation period. The federal Department of Finance has primary jurisdiction over implementing tax policy changes, as it is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Canadian Income Tax Act.

The Department of Finance Canada released the “Proposed Tax Changes for Private Corporations”, which address three tax practices, including Income Sprinkling, Passive Investment Income, and Capital Gains. These changes were released to the public on July 18, 2017, with a 75-day consultation period. The federal Department of Finance has primary jurisdiction over implementing tax policy changes, as it is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Canadian Income Tax Act.

With respect to the proposed federal tax changes, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry shares concerns similar to those expressed by the Agriculture Service Board and other industry stakeholders. To date, over 21,000 individual responses from across Canada have been submitted to the federal Department of Finance on their impact to Canadian Businesses.

Specifically for farm families, a series of announcements were made from October 16 to 19, 2017, indicating that the federal government would not proceed with the measures that restricted the lifetime capital gains exemption on the sale of business shares by non-active shareholder, not on the measure that would restrict the use of the lifetime capital gains exemption when selling shares to a family members. The federal Department of Finance also stated that they will decrease the Small Business Tax Rate to ten per cent in 2018 and nine percent in 2019.

As of December 13, 2017, the federal Department of Finance released an updated provision to the Tax on Split Income proposals to lessen the impact to Canadian businesses. The other proposed changes are expected to be released in the federal budget on February 27, 2018.

Many individual farms, farm advisors, and producer organizations have submitted responses directly to the federal Department of Finance on the impact to their businesses. We encourage farms and farm organizations to stay involved in the release of future proposed legislation, and to actively seek professional advice on the impact to their farm businesses.

Premier of Alberta
Response is included in the response from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

Grade: Accept the Response

Comments: The Department of Finance Canada announced that they would not be making several of the changes proposed in the “Proposed Tax Changes for Private Corporations” document. Many of the proposed changes were reversed based on the input from the consultation. The Committee encourages all ASBs to continue to be aware and involved with this issue.

RESOLUTION 11-18
ORGANIC FOOD TESTING AND LABELING

WHEREAS The organic food industry food stuffs are generally sold at a significant premium to conventional food stuffs;

WHEREAS Consumers rely on the labeling and testing of products to make their purchasing decisions and some labeling is inadequate or misleading to the consumer;

WHEREAS Consumers, Organic Producers, and Conventional Producers are being cheated by false advertising of products and sales gimmicks;

WHEREAS Canada Organic has established standards, certification and verification processes to ensure that products labelled with the Canada Organic product comply with current Canadian legislation for organic products and the Canada Organic Regime;

WHEREAS Many organic products are not labelled with the Canada Organic label, therefore, there is no oversight to determine if these products meet the requirements of current Canadian legislation for organic standards;

WHEREAS Organic Standards allowing a product to be labeled organic when the product is 95% organic, and less than 95% naming it “organic ingredients” is misleading to the consumer;

WHEREAS Produce at Farmers Markets has been sold as organic that do not meet organic standards;

WHEREAS The organic industry, true organic producers and conventional producers need to be protected from the misleading labeling and false organic claims;

WHEREAS Testing by CFIA needs to be increased, available and concise to inform consumers throughout Canada as to what they are receiving when they purchase a product labeled Organic;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARD REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Forestry advocate for clear and concise labeling and testing of products claiming organic authenticity.

FURTHER THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that testing by CFIA is increased to assure all products sold in Canada with organic claims are relevant.

Status: Provincial, Federal

RESPONSE

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

The federal Organic Product Regulation (OPR) is referred to as the Canadian Organic Standard. Organic certification is now mandatory and federally regulated. It regulates all food and feed products that move across a provincial or federal border. Certification is the best guarantee for consumers to verify the organic integrity of a product from field to fork, even for those who know the farmer and farmer’s production practices.

The Canadian Organic Regime (COR) applies to all organic products that cross a border and/or carry the Canadian Organic Logo. This applies to international and interprovincial trade, but it does not apply to intra-provincial trade (products made and sold in Alberta). The COR certifies that products making the organic claim have met the Canadian Organic Standard, and followed the certification process, including the third party audit by an accredited certifying body. The COR does not require product testing. The assurance that products sold with organic claims comes from the certification process.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry is currently working on the intra-provincial gap through the development of a Local Food Act. This act intends to endorse the national standard into the province, and stop the selling of mislabeled organic products.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

As you know, the Organic Products Regulations apply to intra-provincially sold products bearing the Canada organic logo, as well as all products sold inter-provincially and internationally.

The CFIA investigates all allegations of false and misleading labelling and takes enforcement action if evidence of deception is found. This includes false organic claims. It also follows up on complaints receives from consumers—by inspecting the product and/or label—using a risk based approach. Random inspections are conducted for monitoring purposes, while targeted inspections focus on areas where non-compliance is suspected. This would include verifying that a product is certified when it should be.

The CFIA routinely tests products with organic claims for potential contamination. Industry adherence to regulations has generally tested at better than 95%. CFIA local offices receive complaints about food products that are believed to violate regulatory requirements. Inspectors investigate these complaints based on inspection and compliance principles. Local CFIA offices can be found at www.inspection.gc.ca/about-the-cfia/offices/eng/1313255382836/1313256130232.

The CFIA understands that some provinces are in the process of establishing provincial organic regulations that would apply intra-provincially and we encourage you to work with the provinces to establish these regulations.

Grade: Accept in Principle

Comments: This response was graded as Accept in Principle as Agriculture and Forestry indicated that a new Act was being developed to address this issue. The Committee will continue to work with Agriculture and Forestry to be part of the consultation process and will notify ASBs when the consultation starts. The Committee will use this process to advocate for changes to be made to improve certification for organic products.

RESOLUTION 12-18
CHEMICAL CONTROL OF WIREWORMS

DEFEATED AT 2018 ASB PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE

WHEREAS The immitigable destruction of crops by wireworms in southern Alberta has increasingly become an unmanageable issue;

WHEREAS The Government of Canada ended the use of LINDANE as a pesticide in December of 2004;

WHEREAS There currently does not exist an effective chemical application to mitigate the crop damage induced by wireworms;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the previously registered pesticide known as LINDANE be again allowed for controlled treatment by certified Seed Cleaning Plants regarding seed which they have actually cleaned for specified cereal grains and which may only be planted for the restricted use of livestock feed, with sufficient oversight and accountability of the grower to prevent any crops produced from such LINDANE treated seed to be directly consumed by humans or to be sown year after year on the same field.