PC Amendment to create tax credit for farmers donating to Food Banks Passes

QUEEN’S PARK – Today the PC amendment to the Local Food Act that would create a tax credit for farmers who donate agricultural products to Ontario food banks and community food programs was passed at committee. The amendment was put forward by Bob Bailey, Sarnia-Lambton MPP, who had first introduced the proposal as a private members bill.

“I am thrilled that Bob Bailey’s bill to create a tax credit for farmers who donate to local food banks and community food programs has now become part of the Local Food Act,” said Ernie Hardeman, Oxford MPP and PC Critic for Agriculture and Food. “This will help get more fresh local food to those who need it the most and ensure that the Local Food Act actually has an impact.”

The PC amendment creates a non-refundable tax credit worth 25% of the current market value of the donated agricultural product to farmers who donate to a community food program, including a food bank. In order to be eligible the program must be run by a registered charity and must provide the food free of charge.

Hardeman was also pleased that the PC amendment to save Ontario Agriculture Week passed. Local Food Week will now begin the first Monday in June instead of replacing Ontario Agriculture Week.

“We believe that it is important to have a time of year when we recognize all the accomplishments of our farmers – from the food they produce, to the jobs they create, to their contributions to our environment and our rural communities,” said Hardeman. “I’m pleased that the PC amendment was passed so now we will have separate weeks to celebrate both Local Food and Ontario Agriculture.”

Liberal and NDP members on the committee voted against a PC amendment to require real targets, instead of just aspirational ones.

Hardeman was very disappointed that government members blocked his motion to open the Education Act to add a requirement to have food education in the curriculum at every grade.

“In every local food roundtable we held and throughout the hearings on the Local Food Act the need for more food education was the number one issue,” said Hardeman. “I’m disappointed that today the government has blocked our attempt to increase food education in our schools.”

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For more information, contact:
Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford
(416) 325-1239