In November of 2013, the Government of Ontario made history by becoming the first province in Canada to provide a tax credit for farmers who donate agricultural product to local food banks. As an amendment to Bill 36, The Local Food Act, effective beginning in 2014, farmers in Ontario are eligible to receive a non-refundable 25 per cent tax credit based on the fair market value of product that they donate to local food banks and community meal programs.
This tax credit is groundbreaking for two reasons; the first of which being that farmers deserve, and need, a tax credit to help cover the costs of harvesting and transporting product to food banks. Up until 2013, farmers donated thousands of pounds of fresh food out of sheer generosity to Ontario’s food banks. Secondly, by passing this tax credit, the provincial government has officially recognized food banks, and the necessary, important role that they play in providing nutrition and food security for thousands of people in Ontario each and every month.
The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) was instrumental in working with the agricultural community and MPP Bob Bailey (Sarnia-Lambton) to gain support on this initiative. This tax credit had been introduced to Queen’s Park multiple times prior to its passage in 2013 by MPP Bailey, but despite all party support, it never passed due to timing issues.
Thankfully this initiative finally passed with all party support. Since 2013, Quebec and British Columbia have followed Ontario’s lead and passed similar provincial tax credits.
The OAFB looks forward to the upcoming release on the uptake of this incredible tax credit from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.