RealAg LIVE! — The 2021 federal budget special edition


Today’s RealAg LIVE! episode is exciting, as we bring to you a budget special. It’s our first federal budget in two years, so co-hosts Shaun Haney and Kelvin Heppner figured we were overdue for a special.

The budget is 739 pages long, and as Haney notes, it looked like a Ken Follet novel as it was passed along to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Joining Haney and Heppner on our panel today is Jeff English of Pulse Canada, Chris van den Heuval of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), and Jennifer Babcock of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA).


  • First female finance minister giving the budget, so yay for making strides!
  • Bottom line in the budget is a $354 billion dollar deficit
  • No holding back in terms of spending here…
  • In terms of retail politics, $10/day childcare pledge for all Canadians by 2025
  • $15/hr minimum wage across the country for federal organizations
  • Continuing COVID-19 relief programs
  • The rent subsidy is extended until fall
  • A whole whack of green, net-zero-focused programs. $5 billion over seven years for a net zero accelerator investing in technology and innovation that leads to net zero
  • Launching a green bond program
  • Several billion for home retrofits including an interest free loan program
  • In terms of the climate, there’s a new greenhouse gas emissions target in this budget. Previously, Canada has been aiming for a 30 per cent reduction by 2030 of 2005 levels, and they’ve raised that bar now to 36 per cent
  • Luxury tax on boats, planes, and automobiles over $100,000
  • This is only 70 minutes after the budget release, SO, we’re learning as we go!
  • Mention of the carbon tax on grain drying. The federal government says it will start sending out money — returning some of what farmers have paid for grain drying in the provinces where the federal backstop is in effect starting 2021/2022. Estimating that at $100 million.
  • Some references to agriculture, but really heavy on the environmental aspect
  • Climate change and mitigation
  • Pulses fitting into the climate and green economy
  • Rotational grazing — is there a place for that where the government is going? Yes, very likely
  • Any incentives for biofuel plant building? It is mentioned as something that could benefit from net zero climate
  • Any concern about the $15 minimum wage from agriculture groups? Have to look further into what this means. This impacts 26,000 Canadians that make under that amount.
  • No lack of poetry in these 700 pages. It’s a political document!
  • The opportunity for agriculture with this government is certainly through the climate door
  • There was a lot about food in this budget, and how the government worked with industry to keep food industry alive through COVID-19
  • Lots of money to the wine sector. The wine will be saved!
  • Lots of focus on the spending. Will we hear much about the fact that the deficit grew to what it is? From the opposition parties, likely.
  • A lot of what is talked about will still have to have a lot of refocus and conversations still
  • Some expansion programs that ports have taken advantage of were in there as well
  • Right now it’s a bit about checking the boxes. As an agriculture industry, we need to come forward with mutually beneficial ideas to help check those boxes.
  • Childcare costs — this is important to rural Canadians, too. With lower costs, hopefully there can be higher supply, if we’re following economic theory.
  • Cost side of these green initiatives, how is agriculture positioned to offset these costs? There’s no doubt we are able to help in this space. There are investments and opportunities to be recognized for what we have done already, and what we are able to do.
  • The devil is in the details!
  • Redistribution of costs to some of the largest agricultural provinces…more details to come.
  • Carbon sequestration. This is something CFA will be watching closely.
  • Need to put our heads together and bring our ideas to those that have a seat at the table.
  • Agricultural clean technology program is getting plenty of funding, too. Really trying to limit reliance on traditional fuels.
  • Is this an election document? That’s a tough one to answer. Indications from opposition parties aren’t sure, but it does very much look like a spend document.
  • Is the election getting kicked down the pandemic road?
  • Stay tuned to RealAgriculture throughout the week for more budget coverage.

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