By Connor Lynch
For the fifth year in a row farmers have struggled more than other small businesses with red tape clogging up their operations.
For Kevin Marriot, the mayor of and a farmer in Enniskillen, government bureaucracy is an issue he’s always dealing with.
“Our biggest industry is agriculture,” he said. “One fellow started a very large farm 15 years ago, and it was so bad he was thinking of moving to another province.”
According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’ national survey, 76 per cent of farmers “identify government regulation and paperburden as a serious concern for their business.” Sixty-nine per cent of businesses in other areas cite the same.
Steve Twynstra, a farmer in Ailsa Craig, has been dealing with a number of ongoing issues with everything on his farm like the Ministry of Transportation’s annual renewal for commercial vehicles. “Used to be you’d do it once, now it’s annual, even for my seasonal vehicles,” said Twynstra, who runs a few tractors seasonally. “They wanna know how many kilometres (you are driving) in each province, in the U.S., in Mexico. And they want you to forecast it a year in advance.”
Some of the agencies identified by farmers as costing them time and money include:
• Canada Revenue Agency
• Canada Border Services Agency
• Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Other governmental creations also frustrate farmers, including land use restrictions, by laws, and product labelling requirements.
“We need to ensure that the sector isn’t held back by out dated, redundant and confusing regulations,” said Mandy D’Autremont, senior policy analyst for agri business with the CFIB.