Ag committee approves bill to exempt on-farm grain drying and barn heating from carbon tax

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The private member’s bill that would exempt natural gas and propane used on farms for drying grain and heating barns from the federal carbon tax was approved, with amendments, by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food on Monday.

Bill C-234, originally introduced by Ontario Conservative MP Ben Lobb in February of this year, will now head back to the House of Commons for its third and final reading. If approved, it would then move on to the Senate.

Conservative, New Democrat, and Bloc Quebecois members of the ag committee voted in favour of the bill, while the five Liberal members voted against.

The committee made several amendments to the original text of the bill, including the addition of an eight-year sunset clause, after which the government of the day would have the option of extending the legislation. Another amendment was aimed at clarifying that the exemption applies to buildings used to raise animals or grow crops, such as greenhouses, and not other farm buildings.

The exemption would only apply to on-farm applications, and is not intended to apply to grain drying at commercial elevators.

C-234 is an updated version of an earlier private member’s bill — C-206, which was approved by the House of Commons in June 2021, but was not approved by the Senate for Royal Assent prior to Parliament being dissolved for the October 2021 federal election.

More details and info to come.

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