Twenty-seven Ontario producer groups ask for removal of fertilizer tariff

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The Ontario Agricultural Commodity Council (OACC), made of up 27 non-supply managed commodity organization, is asking Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, to remove the 35 per cent tariff currently levied on Russian-sourced fertilizer.

In a letter sent April 13, 2023, the group outlines the collective value of the groups’ economic activity and the cost of the unintended consequences to the fertilizer tariff, including increased production costs for food and food ingredients. The tariff disproportionately costs Ontario farmers the most. The group also points out that Russian-sourced fertilizer is still moving, only now it’s routed through more costly shipping channels. Canada is the only G7 country to have such a tariff at this time.

Watch Shaun Haney’s report on RFD-TV’s Market Day Report: 

Signed by Mike Chromczak, OACC chairperson, the letter reads, in part:

“Ontario farmers compete with both the European Union and the United States, both of which do not have tariffs on their crop fertilizers. This puts our farmers at a price and production cost disadvantage. It should also be noted that there are no restrictions on fertilizer shipments, from tariffed countries, that are routed indirectly through the United States to Canada. These artificial detours in fertilizer shipments also result in increased transportation-related costs to Ontario and Canadian farmers and a negative environmental impact due to additional transportation.

Ontario farmers have done everything they can to produce affordable food that will help Canada and the world meet their growing needs. The atrocity of the Russian invasion of Ukraine had an unparalleled impact on the world’s grain supply, but the tariffs have only resulted in increased costs to Ontario farmers.

As some of our members continue to ask for the return of fertilizer tariff monies collected to their farmers, we ask that the government follow the United Nations Secretary General’s recommendation that all countries remove punitive tariffs on fertilizers and crop inputs. It is all too evident that these tariffs only add to the cost burden of Canadian farmers and to the price of food and restrict the flow of food and food aid to the most vulnerable countries.”

The Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, chaired by Liberal MP Kody Blois, published a report last month entitled “Feeding the world: Strengthening Canada’s capacity to respond to global food insecurity.” Removal of the tariff is one of the recommendations.

Recommendation 9

  • The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada:
    Review its tariff policy on fertilizer imports from Russia in light of the evolving situation in Ukraine and in the context of food security and look at ways to return the funds collected back to farmers under the Most-Favoured-Nation Tariff Withdrawal Order (2022-1); and
  • Explore ways to stimulate Canada’s production of fertilizer to reduce its dependence on foreign suppliers.

It’s estimated that in the 2022 spring season, eastern Canadian farmers paid a total of $33 to $34 million in fertilizer tariffs. In the latest federal budget, the federal government contributed an additional $34.1 million to its On-Farm Climate Action Fund as a means of “returning” the funds to farmers.

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