Senate must immediately pass Bill C-208 to provide tax fairness for Canadian farms
June 17, 2021 (Ottawa, Ontario) – The Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) are calling on Canadian Senators to immediately allow for a final vote on Bill C-208 before Parliament rises for the summer recess.
“Canadian farms are 98 per cent family-owned and operated and we want to keep it that way,” said William Van Tassel, GGC vice-chair, from his farm near Hébertville, QC. “Farm families today face a myriad of challenges, from the increasing cost of land to the capital requirements of those entering the industry. The passage of this bill would eliminate the burden of unfair tax rates that make it difficult to keep businesses under family ownership.”
If passed, Bill C-208 would allow small businesses, farm families, and family fishing corporations the same tax rate when selling their operations to a family member as they would if sold to a third party. Presently, when a farm is sold to a family member, the difference between the sale price and the original purchase price is considered a dividend. However, if the business is sold to a non-family member, the sale is classified as a capital gain. A capital gain is taxed at a significantly lower rate and allows the seller to use the lifetime capital gains exemption.
After the Senate Agriculture and Forestry Committee passed Bill C-208 last week, it was expected that the legislation would move to a third and final vote early this week. However, the bill has not yet come up for debate, nor has a vote been scheduled.
With Parliament expected to rise next week, if Bill C-208 is not passed immediately, this unnecessary burden on farm families will persist. To keep the farm in the family, farmers will be faced with the impossible choice of either less financial security in retirement or a sale to a third-party buyer.
“It is time to stop playing games with something as important to the fabric of rural Canada as our family farms. We are calling on the Senate to cease the delay of this important bill and ensure that Canadian farms have a better chance to remain in the family,” added Van Tassel. “There are only a few days left for the Senate to pass this bill. On behalf of grain farmers, we implore our Senators to bring the legislation to a vote and pass this bill into law.”
Bill C-208 passed through the House of Commons, with cross-party support from the Conservatives, NDP, Bloc Quebecois, and 19 Liberal MPs at the behest of the vast majority of stakeholders – including many farm groups who appeared as witnesses during Committee proceedings.
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Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 15 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.