2001 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions

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 Table of contents
Resolution #1Alberta Farm Fuel Benefit Program
Resolution #2Removal of all Federal Fuel Taxes
Resolution #4Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (P.F.R.A.) Tree Distribution in Alberta
Resolution #5Bran Baits
Resolution #6Richardson Ground Squirrel Control
Resolution #7BILL C-388 (An Act to Prohibit the use of Chemical Pesticides for Non- Essential Purposes
Resolution #8Noxious Weed Control Along Railway Right-of-Ways
Resolution #9Portable Seed Cleaning Plants

Resolution #1

Alberta farm fuel benefit program
Be it resolved - That the Government of Alberta not implement the Alberta Business Tax Review Committee 2000's recommendation regarding the Alberta Farm Fuel Benefit Program.

Response - Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. The Alberta Government has for many years supported the use of tax exempt fuel in farm plated trucks used both on and off-road. This benefit is available to eligible farmers who are registered in the Alberta Farm Fuel Benefit. The issue of on-road use of the marked fuel has been reviewed periodically.

The Standing Policy Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs reviewed this Regulation three years ago and supported a continuation of the policy.

Alberta Finance (Treasury). The Alberta Business Tax Review Committee recommended restrictions to two programs that provide fuel tax relief: the Alberta Farm Fuel Benefit (AFFB) and the Tax Exempt Fuel Use (TEFU). The committee recommended restrictions on these programs because they provide benefits to some sectors on Alberta's economy and not to others.

The government did not accept the recommendation to restrict the AFFB to licensed vehicles. The government has no current intention to restrict or further review this program. However, the Ministry of Finance is undertaking a review of the recommendation that TEFU be restricted.

Alberta has the lowest fuel taxes in Canada and the most generous exemption programs of any province. Fuel used for farming is not taxed and the Alberta Farm Fuel Benefit (AFFB) provides a rebate of six cents per litre on diesel fuel used. These programs provide a benefit of $112 million per year for Alberta farmers.

In addition, Alberta provides tax exemptions and rebates on fuel used off-road for commercial purposes to reduce costs for primary resource industries such as forestry, mining, oil and gas, and well servicing. The Tax Exempt Fuel Use program currently provides benefits of about $120 million per year. This program is complex and difficult to administer and enforce.

We are still working to do more for Alberta farmers. At a recent Agriculture Ministers' meeting in Regina, former Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ty Lund, proposed that the Federal Government should rebate the Goods and Services Tax on fuel. This proposal is expected to be part of a package of solutions addressing the farm income situation that Provincial Ministers will present jointly to the Federal Government.

Resolution #2

Removal of all federal fuel taxes
Be it resolved - That the Federal Government be requested to remove all forms of Federal taxes on farm fuels as this would equally benefit all aspects of the agricultural community.

Response - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. It should be noted that farmers pay no federal Goods and Services Taxes (GST) on input purchases, including fuel. The only federal tax on farm fuel is the excise tax of 10 cents per litre on gasoline and 4 cents per litre on diesel fuel. This tax applies to all fuel users in Canada. The lower rate on diesel recognizes that commercial businesses, such as farms, are more heavily dependent on diesel fuel.
There are several disadvantages to reducing this tax for the farm sector. It would create inequities with other fuel users, leading to calls for removal of the tax on logging, fishing, trucking and other activities dependant on fuel. It could increase the leakage of farm fuel for off-farm uses and reduce incentives for fuel efficiency in the sector. It would also result in increased administrative costs. For these reasons, the federal government is not considering a reduction of fuel tax at this time.

Department of Finance Canada (on behalf of Canada Customs and Revenue Agency). The Department of Finance recognizes the vital role that farmers play in the economy and is committed to ensuring a favorable environment that allows these businesses to prosper. You may be aware of a number of tax measures that support Canadian farmers.

It is not clear, however, as to whether the removal of federal taxes for fuel used for farm purposes is an appropriate means for providing assistance to farmers. As the relief could not easily be targeted to farmers who are most in need, the revenue costs would substantially outweigh the benefits.

That being said, assistance to farmers is provided in other ways that have proven to be simple, fair and effective. I would like to take this opportunity to outline some of the tax measures that have been introduced to help farmers businesses.

Under the sales tax system, farmers do not collect Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) on the majority of their sales because items such as crops, farm livestock and produce for human consumption are relieved of tax. Also, to simplify tax compliance further, farmers do not have to pay tax on a select list of big-ticket items that are used exclusively by them. With the items currently included on the list, a significant portion of the value of farmers' business purchases is not subject to the GST/HST. On other purchases, including fuel, farmers are able to recover their GST/HST costs through the input tax credit mechanism.

Farmers also enjoy many advantages under the income tax system. For example, farmers may elect to report income and expenses on a cash basis rather than on an accrual basis as do most other businesses. Farmers are eligible for the $500,000 Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE) for farm property and may also be able to defer proceeds from the sale of farm property through a 10-year capital gains reserve. They are also exempt from making quarterly tax instalments.

Tax relief measures introduced by the government in the 2000 budget will also assist farmers. Effective January 2001, small businesses currently paying tax at the general 28-per-cent rate will benefit from a reduced 21-per-cent corporate tax rate on active business income between $200,000 and $300,000. This measure is in addition to the proposed personal income tax rate reductions and a corporate tax rate reduction of 1 percentage point, from 28 to 27 per cent, on income not eligible for special tax treatment.

In addition to tax concessions, significant direct support to farmers is provided through many long-term safety net programs such as Net Income Stabilization Account and Crop Insurance. As these programs are administered by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, I have therefore taken the liberty of forwarding a copy of Mr. Nichol's correspondence to Mr. Samy Watson, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Resolution #4

Prairie farm rehabilitation administration (P.F.R.A.)
Tree distribution in Alberta

Be it resolved - That the Provincial Government amend it's Memorandum of Understanding with the P.F.R.A. such that eligible applicants in Alberta can take advantage of provided services free of charge as is currently practiced by their counterparts in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Response - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. With the expiration of the MOU in June of 2001, the PFRA Shelterbelt Centre is working to develop new approaches to delivering the conservation tree program in Alberta, to provide Alberta clients a level of service that is more closely aligned with program delivery in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Starting in 2002, PFRA will take direct responsibility for the conservation shelterbelt program in Alberta. The application process will be harmonized with the system used in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Applications for trees will be sent directly to the Indian Head office of PFRA. There will be no charge for seedlings used in conservation plantings, however, as in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, eligible clients will be responsible for shipping charges on a per tree bale basis. We expect this more direct program delivery will result in better service to Alberta clients requesting conservation tree materials and service.

Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. By July 2001, PFRA will be making application forms available across Alberta for access to their shelterbelt programs and trees (as in Saskatchewan and Manitoba). Farmers can apply for trees (will be delivered in Spring, 2002) this summer/fall for trees for farmstead, conservation, etc. PFRA will not be making trees available to small rural holdings (they do in Saskatchewan and Manitoba). The reason is that they are negotiating with Marketland (the company that took over AFRD program when it was privatized) to help out in handling of applications for the distribution of trees.

PFRA will, and may already have, communicated with ASBs to advise them of their changes in policy that provides Alberta farmers the same access to their trees as those in other provinces

The MOU that is referred to in the resolution expires in June 2001 and will not be renewed. All commitments at that time will have been fulfilled.

Marketland will continue to be in the tree business as a fully private operation with no more ties to government.

Resolution #5

Bran baits
Be it resolved -That Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Environment Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada work together with industry to achieve an aerial registration for Bran Baits.

Response - Health Canada. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) will consider aerial application of carbaryl- based bran baits when an application with the appropriate data is submitted by the registrant of the product.

Resolution #6

Richardson ground squirrel control
Be it resolved - Support the research being carried out by John Bourne, and if it proves significant improvement in Ground Squirrel control that the Agricultural Service Boards support controlled access of 2% strychnine through Agricultural Fieldmen to producers who need Ground Squirrel control.

Response - Health Canada. The proposed controlled access to 2% strychnine is a complex issue. The 2% liquid concentrate was withdrawn in 1992, after consultation with the Western provinces, in favour of a ready to use bait due to a substantial number of incidents of intentional and unintentional non-target poisonings, including dogs and wildlife and suspected human suicides.

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has since granted Research Permits in 2000 and 2001 to Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AAFRD) to examine the efficacy of alternate baits and use of the 2% strychnine concentrate. If the 2% concentrate is proven to be substantially more effective than the ready-to-use baits, the PMRA will work with AAFRD and Alberta Environment to determine if the non-target risks can be mitigated through a controlled access program or other means.

Environment Canada. Decisions made on pesticides can affect this department's own responsibilities related to environmental conservation and protection as well as sustainable development (including, for example, the administration of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the Canada Wildlife Act.) Department officials, therefore, work with the PMRA to address pesticides issues and facilitate the exchange of information between both departments. Environment Canada has committed to carrying out a program of research and monitoring activities related to pesticides. We have also committed to providing the results and conclusions of these activities to the PMRA in a timely manner, and to discussing priorities for research and monitoring.

In addition, Environment Canada provides advice to the PMRA on the development and implementation of policies and programs, both national and international, that may affect our mandate. We have also undertaken to inform and consult with the PMRA on the development of environmental risk assessment methodology, data requirements and test guidelines.

Finally, the Department enforces subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act, which prohibits the deposit of any substance, including pesticides, that can harm fish or fish habitat.

Alberta Environment. Alberta Environment supports Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development's research proposal to determine whether freshly prepared baits using liquid (2%) strychnine will be more effective than commercially available prepared baits. If the research demonstrates significantly greater effectiveness for freshly prepared baits, Alberta Environment supports controlled access of 2% liquid strychnine through Agricultural Fieldman.

Resolution #7

Bill C-388 (an act to prohibit the use of chemical pesticides for non- essential purposes)
Be it resolved - That the Alberta Agricultural Service Boards, along with the Provincial Government urge the Federal Government not to reintroduce Bill C-388 or any other similar bill without more consultation with the agricultural community.

Response - Environment Canada. Resolution 7 refers to the former Bill C-388, a private member's bill that died on the Order Paper when an election was called last year. As you may be aware, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), reporting to the Minister of Health, administers the Pest Control Products Act, which regulates the use of pesticides in Canada. Therefore, a copy of the letter and enclosures was forwarded to the Office of the Honourable Allan Rock, for consideration. The Health Canada response is contained in Resolution No. 6.

Alberta Environment. Although Bill C-388 is intended to address urban pesticide use (home lawns, gardens, parks, golf courses), the Bill's wording does not clearly exempt agricultural land. Regardless, Alberta Environment does not support the prohibition of pesticides from urban or agricultural areas.

Alberta Environment supports reducing pesticide use in the urban environment. We do this in the following ways:
  • By encouraging best management practices that reduce pest development by promoting plant health
  • By promoting integrated pest management, which controls pests only when necessary, and using a variety of pest controls
Urban pesticide use, particularly residential use, tends to be more intensive than agricultural use (based on pesticide sales statistics compiled by Alberta Environment). In that regard, representatives from Alberta Environment are participating on a Federal/Provincial "Healthy Lawns Working Group" with the following objective:
    "To reduce reliance on pesticide use for lawn care through the application of Integrated Pest Management principles with particular emphasis on pest prevention, use of reduced risk products and application of pesticides only when necessary."
Alberta golf courses offer a good example of effective integrated pest management. Aside from golf greens, which receive heavy applications of fungicide to control disease, golf courses generally rely less on pesticides than do residential areas. This is because golf course turf management practices ensure healthy turf growth, which reduces weed and pest problems.

Resolution #8

Noxious weed control along railway right-of-ways
Be it resolved - That railways co-operate with municipalities to ensure weed control takes place by encouraging access onto railroad right-of-ways for inspection; and that railways will apply registered herbicides where necessary to the entire right-of-way.

Response - Canadian Pacific Railway. Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) has an active vegetation management program to control noxious weeds on our right-of-ways. Our goal is to manage vegetation based on ecological and scientific principles in a safe and cost-effective manner and in full co-operation with provincial weed inspectors.

Despite a good program and our best efforts, the reality is that noxious weeds are persistent and do present an ongoing challenge.

CPR has responded to all noxious weed notices promptly, courteously and in a co-operative manner. We have never limited access to weed inspectors and do not intent to do so in the future. On the contrary, we value the continuation of a good relationship with provincial authorities.

We have also participated in provincial and municipal herbicide application programs when co- ordinated with our Vegetation Management Specialist, Mr. Angelo Dalcin.

It was with some surprise and disappointment, that we read your resolution. We suspect that the problem may not be with railways in general and the CPR in particular. (Please note that CPR does not run within 450 km of Grande Prairie). If that is the case, we feel it is inappropriate for all railways to be subjected to the same, blanket criticism, particularly when we feel it is not applicable to CPR.

Canadian National. Canadian National (CN) recognizes the important role of maintaining our right-of-ways. We accept our obligation to control noxious weeds on our property and to prevent the spread onto adjacent property.

Safety is of paramount importance to CN and for that reason, a number of specific policies govern access to our right-of-way. For example, public access to CN property is not prohibited, but restricted by these policies. The requirements and procedures for obtaining access to CN property can normally be obtained by contacting CN Police through our Communications Center at (800) 465-9239. Alternatively, municipalities can contact me directly at (780) 421-6150.

CN has always tried to work in a co-operative effort with municipalities in Alberta and their representatives to control noxious weeds. We hope to continue that co-operative effort in the future.

Alberta RailNet Inc. In 1999, our takeover of the line was to deal with weeds in a pre-emergent sense, however, we did contract with both private applicators and jurisdictional interests, such as the County of Grande Prairie, to kill noxious weeds identified by both ourselves and the different jurisdictions.

In 2000, we undertook a more comprehensive spraying program which saw complete spraying in the agricultural areas along our right of way and sprayed twice in some of the more infested areas which was then followed by hand cutting in some of the problematic areas.

As well in the year 2000, we contracted with a local machine shop to adapt a brush cutting machine to work with certain pieces of our track and rubber mounted rail maintenance equipment.

This brush and grass cutter was in use late in the summer and fall season and will continue to be a key piece of our maintenance program throughout the coming years.

Weed spraying, grass cutting and equipment purchase and rental expenditures by our company, in the less than two years since inception, total close to $100,000.00 and we remain committed to our weed control program in the future. We will again be working this year with the various jurisdictions to do our part in dealing with this important problem.

We, as a grain-handling railway, recognize the importance of this issue to the producer who is also our customer. We feel it in our best interest to help that customer maximize his or her crop potential.
We have in fact conducted joint inspections with different jurisdictions including Alberta Infrastructure, our regulating authority, and in some cases hired them to assist us in combating this problem.

We do have a concern that even though the background to the resolution states, "some of the railway companies have been better than others in implementing weed control measures", the resolution itself does not recognize these efforts but rather uses a broad-brush approach in describing the problem.

We trust the foregoing will be seen as tangible evidence of Alberta RailNet, Inc.'s commitment to this issue and that these efforts will be recognized as such in dealing with the eventual outcome of Resolution 8.

RailLink. RailLink Canada Ltd. does not operate railways within the County of Grande Prairie No. 1.

Central Western Railway Corporation. Central Western Railway Corporation does not operate railways within the County of Grande Prairie No. 1.

Resolution #9

Portable seed cleaning plants
Be it resolved - That Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development establish a provincial registration protocol that lists all portable seed cleaning plants licensed to operate in Alberta and this information be forwarded to their respective Agricultural Fieldman annually, and that provisions be placed in the Weed Control Act Seed Cleaning Plant Regulation specific to portable seed plants to allow penalties to be placed for failure to meet provisions in the Weed Control Act and Regulations.

Response - Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. Under the Weed Control Act, it is the responsibility of the local rural municipality (Agricultural Fieldman) to inspect portable seed cleaning plants within its jurisdiction and license them if inspection criteria are met. If the owner or operator of the portable seed cleaning plant moves it to a different rural municipality, it is required that written notification be given to the weed inspector of that municipality at least 24 hours before the move. Failure to comply can result in a fine of not more than $5,000 and in default of payment to a term of imprisonment of not more than 60 days.

Since the licensing of Portable Seed Cleaning Plants is the responsibility of the local rural municipality, the establishment of a Provincial registry by Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AAFRD) is dependent upon that information forwarded to the Department.

This information is provided by:
Pam Retzloff, Program Assistant
Agricultural Service Board Program
Room 201, 7000 - 113 Street
Edmonton, Alberta
T6H 5T6
Phone: 780-427-4213 Fax: 780-422-7755


Other Documents in the Series

  2010 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2009 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2008 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2007 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2006 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2005 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2004 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2003 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2002 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2001 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions - Current Document
2000 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
1999 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
1998 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Pam Retzloff.
This information published to the web on April 23, 2003.
Last Reviewed/Revised on March 11, 2010.