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Spring 2019 Agriculture Matters

June 27, 2019

 

 

 

Federal Budget Matters

 

The Federal Budget was released in March 2019. The budget included funding for Canadian egg, dairy and poultry farmers as well as funding for the Quota Value Guarantee Program. Additional details for the funding have not yet been announced.

 

The federal budget also announced changes to the Specified Corporate Income (SCI) rules that came into effect on March 21, 2016. The rules restricted access to the Small Business Deduction (SBD) for certain sales to Canadian Controlled Private Corporations (CCPC). For example, Farmer A’s corporation sold cattle to a corporation where Farmer A’s spouse was a minority shareholder. The sales may not be eligible for the SBD.

Farmers in barn with cows

 

The government had previously exempted sales to “eligible farming and fishing co-operatives” as many farming corporations hold shares in their local co-operatives. The government has proposed to expand this exemption by changing the definition from “eligible farming and fishing co-operatives” to “specified farming and fishing income (SFFI).  SFFI is defined as the income from the sale of farming products or fishing catches from the corporation’s farming or fishing business to an arm’s length corporation. In the above example, if Farmer A’s corporation operates at arm’s length with the corporation his spouse is a minority shareholder in, then the sale would be eligible for the SBD. This change will not affect many of our clients. For those that are affected, the appropriate adjustments will be made to the corporate tax returns.

 

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Ontario Budget Matters

 

Ontario released its budget in April 2019. Some of the notable items for farmers were the promise to cut red tape by 25% and enhance funding for certain programs. Ontario has committed to exploring options to expand its Risk Management Program to better support farmers and producers in managing risk. The province has also budgeted $315 million to improve access to broadband internet in rural areas.  Other items to note:

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Risk Management - Grains and Oilseeds

 

Farmer checking wheat field The Risk Management program has been updated to include a new 95 percent coverage level. The addition of this new coverage level means coverage is not automatically renewed this year. An information sheet was provided to participants in May 2019 which outlined premium rates at each of the support levels (80, 90, 95 and 100 percent) to help participants decide which level is right for their operation. Participants are required to call Agricorp to confirm coverage levels for grains and oilseeds by June 30, 2019.

 

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Keeping Agriculture Workers Safe

 

Keeping agricultural workers safe plays an important role in reducing downtime, maintaining productivity, retaining employees, and the moral and ethical values of Ontario’s agriculture sector.  Knowing which Health and Safety regulations apply to farming is the best place to start for understanding your obligations as an agricultural employer.

 

Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (the Act), generally applies to all farming operations that employ workers.  A worker is a person who is paid for their services, even for a short or seasonal period; and also includes unpaid co-op students and interns. 

There are some exemptions for farming such as:

  • The Act does not apply to self-employed farmers that do not employ other workers (unpaid family members are not considered workers).
  • Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) requirements only apply to certain types of operations: mushroom, greenhouse, dairy, hog, cattle and poultry.  However, all farms with more than 5 workers must have a worker health and safety representative.
Woman and man talking in field with machinery

Only certain Regulations under the Act apply to farming:

It is important to note, however, that all employers are covered by what we call the “general duty clause” in the Act which states that “an employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker”.  Although regulations such as WHMIS do not explicitly apply to farming, agriculture employers could be expected to comply based on what is reasonable to protect workers from exposure to hazards; for example toxic substances.  Reasonable precautions could include training, instruction, supervision, policies and procedures, guarding, ventilation, personal protective equipment, and other hazard controls.

 

For more information about Agriculture Health and Safety in Ontario:

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Employing Temporary Foreign Workers

 

The agriculture and agri-food sectors employ over 2.3 million Canadians or one in eight jobs in the Canadian economy. With 16% of agricultural workers are over the age of 65, the agriculture sector is anticipated to see more than one in four workers retire between 2014 and 2025. Roughly 114,000 jobs are expected to be at risk of remaining vacant by 2025 due to these demographics, Canada’s growing economy, low unemployment rate and reduced birth rate. 

 

In order to mitigate this labour shortage, the agriculture sector has looked to foreign labour to help fill the labour gap. In 2014, more than one in ten people employed in Canada’s agriculture sector were foreign workers. The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) has received a $280,000 investment from Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and with this investment, CAHRC will be able to conduct the International Phase of the Quality AgriWorkforce Management Program (QAMP). The program is designed to keep agriculture employers up to date and ensure that they understand the rules that are in place to access foreign workers. As a result, CAHRC provides Canadian farmers with training products, website content, webinars and workshops.

 

Worker checking cucumbers in greenhouse

Once a Temporary Foreign or Migrant Farm Workers has been hired, there is an additional responsibility to ensure the safety of these vulnerable workers.  They may have:

  • Limited English and literacy skills that affect their ability to understand safety information. 
  • Societal and cultural differences influencing their behavior i.e. they may be apprehensive to speak up and anxious about keeping their job.

When employing Migrant Farm Workers some best practices are to:

For more information, please see Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers' Migrant Farm Worker Program and Communicating Health & Safety Effectively For Employers of (Migrant) Farm Workers and 

 

Hiring a temporary foreign worker is a complex process that requires expertise in order to complete accurately and Ward & Uptigrove is able to connect you with legal advice in order to ensure that your temporary foreign worker application meets all of the requirements and is successfully approved. 

 

If you are interested in accessing additional information, training and tools needed to efficiently and successfully hire and manage foreign workers, you can contact CAHRC or subscribe to their Toolkit.

 

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Upcoming Deadlines

 

 

June 30
July 2
July 10
July 31
August 1
August 8
September 1
September 30
October 31
December 1
December 15
December 31

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Ward and Uptigrove Logo

Spring 2019 Agriculture Matters

June 27, 2019

 

 

 
Federal Budget Matters

 

The Federal Budget was released in March 2019. The budget included funding for Canadian egg, dairy and poultry farmers as well as funding for the Quota Value Guarantee Program. Additional details for the funding have not yet been announced.

 

The federal budget also announced changes to the Specified Corporate Income (SCI) rules that came into effect on March 21, 2016. The rules restricted access to the Small Business Deduction (SBD) for certain sales to Canadian Controlled Private Corporations (CCPC). For example, Farmer A’s corporation sold cattle to a corporation where Farmer A’s spouse was a minority shareholder. The sales may not be eligible for the SBD.

 

Farmers in barn with cows

 

The government had previously exempted sales to “eligible farming and fishing co-operatives” as many farming corporations hold shares in their local co-operatives. The government has proposed to expand this exemption by changing the definition from “eligible farming and fishing co-operatives” to “specified farming and fishing income (SFFI).  SFFI is defined as the income from the sale of farming products or fishing catches from the corporation’s farming or fishing business to an arm’s length corporation. In the above example, if Farmer A’s corporation operates at arm’s length with the corporation his spouse is a minority shareholder in, then the sale would be eligible for the SBD. This change will not affect many of our clients. For those that are affected, the appropriate adjustments will be made to the corporate tax returns.

 

Top of Page

 
Ontario Budget Matters

 

Ontario released its budget in April 2019. Some of the notable items for farmers were the promise to cut red tape by 25% and enhance funding for certain programs. Ontario has committed to exploring options to expand its Risk Management Program to better support farmers and producers in managing risk. The province has also budgeted $315 million to improve access to broadband internet in rural areas.  Other items to note:

  • Not much emphasis was put on is OMAFRA’s budget cut. In 2019, the budget was $1.06 billion and it will be reduced to $839 million for 2020. Details around the budget cut have not yet been released.
  • Ontario has announced changes to the Ontario Beef Producers' Feeder Cattle Loan Guarantee Program which reduces unnecessary credit checks. 
  • The province has announced changes to the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program that will make it easier for farmers to access compensation when they lose livestock to predators.
  • For income taxes, Ontario will now follow the accelerated capital cost write-offs announced by the federal government in the fall of 2018.

Top of Page

 
Risk Management - Grains and Oilseeds

 

Farmer checking wheat field

The Risk Management program has been updated to include a new 95 percent coverage level. The addition of this new coverage level means coverage is not automatically renewed this year. An information sheet was provided to participants in May 2019 which outlined premium rates at each of the support levels (80, 90, 95 and 100 percent) to help participants decide which level is right for their operation. Participants are required to call Agricorp to confirm coverage levels for grains and oilseeds by June 30, 2019.

 

Top of Page

 
Keeping Agriculture Workers Safe

 

Keeping agricultural workers safe plays an important role in reducing downtime, maintaining productivity, retaining employees, and the moral and ethical values of Ontario’s agriculture sector.  Knowing which Health and Safety regulations apply to farming is the best place to start for understanding your obligations as an agricultural employer.

 

Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (the Act), generally applies to all farming operations that employ workers.  A worker is a person who is paid for their services, even for a short or seasonal period; and also includes unpaid co-op students and interns. 

There are some exemptions for farming such as:

  • The Act does not apply to self-employed farmers that do not employ other workers (unpaid family members are not considered workers).
  • Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) requirements only apply to certain types of operations: mushroom, greenhouse, dairy, hog, cattle and poultry.  However, all farms with more than 5 workers must have a worker health and safety representative.

Woman and man talking in field with machinery

Only certain Regulations under the Act apply to farming:

  • O. Reg. 381/15: NOISE
  • R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 834: CRITICAL INJURY – DEFINED
  • O. Reg. 297/13: OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY AWARENESS AND TRAINING
  • O. Reg. 414/05: FARMING OPERATIONS

It is important to note, however, that all employers are covered by what we call the “general duty clause” in the Act which states that “an employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker”.  Although regulations such as WHMIS do not explicitly apply to farming, agriculture employers could be expected to comply based on what is reasonable to protect workers from exposure to hazards; for example toxic substances.  Reasonable precautions could include training, instruction, supervision, policies and procedures, guarding, ventilation, personal protective equipment, and other hazard controls.

 

For more information about Agriculture Health and Safety in Ontario:

Top of Page

 
Employing Temporary Foreign Workers

 

The agriculture and agri-food sectors employ over 2.3 million Canadians or one in eight jobs in the Canadian economy. With 16% of agricultural workers are over the age of 65, the agriculture sector is anticipated to see more than one in four workers retire between 2014 and 2025. Roughly 114,000 jobs are expected to be at risk of remaining vacant by 2025 due to these demographics, Canada’s growing economy, low unemployment rate and reduced birth rate. 

 

In order to mitigate this labour shortage, the agriculture sector has looked to foreign labour to help fill the labour gap. In 2014, more than one in ten people employed in Canada’s agriculture sector were foreign workers. The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) has received a $280,000 investment from Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and with this investment, CAHRC will be able to conduct the International Phase of the Quality AgriWorkforce Management Program (QAMP). The program is designed to keep agriculture employers up to date and ensure that they understand the rules that are in place to access foreign workers. As a result, CAHRC provides Canadian farmers with training products, website content, webinars and workshops.

 

Worker checking cucumbers in greenhouse

Once a Temporary Foreign or Migrant Farm Workers has been hired, there is an additional responsibility to ensure the safety of these vulnerable workers.  They may have:

  • Limited English and literacy skills that affect their ability to understand safety information. 
  • Societal and cultural differences influencing their behavior i.e. they may be apprehensive to speak up and anxious about keeping their job.

When employing Migrant Farm Workers some best practices are to:

  • Use symbols, images, and pictures on signs and instructions whenever possible to eliminate confusion and overcome language barriers.  
  • Provide health and safety information in the workers’ first language if possible.  The Ontario Ministry of Labour offers some publications in a variety of languages: https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/multi/index.php
  • Ask workers that have a better understanding of English to help with translations and communication.

For more information, please see Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers' Migrant Farm Worker Program and Communicating Health & Safety Effectively For Employers of (Migrant) Farm Workers and 

 

Hiring a temporary foreign worker is a complex process that requires expertise in order to complete accurately and Ward & Uptigrove is able to connect you with legal advice in order to ensure that your temporary foreign worker application meets all of the requirements and is successfully approved. 

 

If you are interested in accessing additional information, training and tools needed to efficiently and successfully hire and manage foreign workers, you can contact CAHRC or subscribe to their Toolkit.

 

Top of Page

 
Upcoming Deadlines

 

June 30
  • Production Insurance - 2019 Program year:

    • Report your final planted acreage for spring-seeded grains and oilseeds; seed corn, spring-seeded new forage; tobacco; sugar beets; processing butternut squash, carrots, potatoes and red beets; and yield-based carrots, onions, potatoes and rutabagas.

  • Risk Management - 2019 Program year:

    • Select 2019 coverage level for existing participants in RMP: Grains and Oilseeds.
    • Report your acres if you haven't already through Production Insurance.​
  • AgriStability - 2018 Program year:

    • ​Corporations, trusts, and special individuals: submit your Statement A to Agricorp.
    • Submit Year-end report and Claim form
July 2
  • AgriStability - 2019 Program year:
    • Pay fee, submit New Participant Form or cancel coverage (* For 2019, the AgriStability enrolment date is extended from April 30 to July 2, 2019)

July 10
  • Production insurance- 2019 Program year
    • Pay your premium for spring-seeded grains and oilseeds; all yield-based vegetables except asparagus; processing butternut squash, carrots, potatoes and red beets; honey; spring-seeded new forage; tobacco and sugar beets.
July 31
  • Risk Management Program - 2019 Program year
    • Pay premium in full or pay first semi-annual installment for livestock plans. Report second quarter livestock sales.
August 1
  • Production Insurance - 2019 Program year
    • Apply for or make changes to your coverage for summer-seeded new forage.
    • Cancel coverage for summer-seeded new forage seeding
August 8
  • Risk Management Program - 2019 Program year
    • Pay premium for RMP: Grains and Oilseeds
September 1
  • Production Insurance - 2019 Program year
    • Report your yield for winter wheat, organic winter wheat and organic winter spelt.
    • Report your final planted acreage for summer-seeded new forage.
    • Report acres for summer-seeded new forage seeding
September 30
  • AgriInvest program - 2018 Program year
    • If you are only participating in AgriInvest, submit your tax forms to the Canada Revenue Agency.
October 31
  • Production Insurance - 2019 Program year
    • Report your yield for canola, mustard, spring grains and spring wheat.
  • Risk Management Program - 2019 Program year
    • Report third-quarter livestock sales.
December 1
  • Production Insurance - 2019 Program year
    • Pay your premium for seed corn.
December 15
  • Production Insurance - 2019 Program year
    • Report your yield for beans, corn, soybeans, sunflowers, seed corn, honey, flue-cured tobacco, fresh yield-based potatoes, seed onions, set onions, Spanish yield-based onions, sugar beets and all processing vegetables except carrots and butternut squash.
December 31
  • AgriStability - 2019 Program year
    • Pay your fee with a 20 percent late penalty.
    • Apply for an interim payment. You must have completed at least six months of your fiscal year.
  • AgriStability - 2018 Program year
    • Final deadline – Report your 2018 farm income to Canada Revenue Agency

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