Depending on whether 2017-2018 or 2018-2019 budgets are used, funding for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) will shrink by a rate of eight to 25 per cent.
Updating Risk Management
The government is committed to preserving Ontario’s Risk Management Program by ensuring that it protects farmers in the most effective way possible. As such, the government is exploring an option to enhance the Risk Management Program in the future to better support farmers and producers in managing risks that are beyond their control, such as changing costs and market prices. In addition, the government will explore ways to enhance the program in the future.
Modernizing alcohol rules
The government plans to expand the sale of beer and wine to corner stores, big box stores and more grocery stores. The government will create a tailgating permit for eligible sporting events, introducing legislation to let municipalities make rules about alcohol consumption in public spaces, such as parks, and extending hours of alcohol service at licensed establishments, allowing them to start serving alcohol at 9 a.m.
Part of the initiative is to allow wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries greater flexibility to promote their products by removing the required serving sizes offered at manufacturing sites.
Ontario Small Business Deduction
The province provides the Ontario small business deduction, which reduces Ontario’s general Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate from 11.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent on eligible small business income. Ontario is helping small businesses by not proceeding with the previous Ontario government’s announcement that would have phased out the benefit of the lower small business tax rate for companies earning more than $50,000 of passive investment income in a tax year. This would have increased Ontario Corporate Income Taxes by up to $40,000 per year for about 7,900 of Ontario’s small businesses. The government remains committed to cutting the small business corporate income tax rate by 8.7 per cent.
Ontario Food Terminal
The Ontario Food Terminal, currently located in Toronto, is utilized by farmers and other participants in the buying and selling of produce, some of whom truck their produce great distances in order to access the terminal.
“The province is committed to ensuring the Ontario Food Terminal is sustainable over the next five, 10 and 50 years. In line with this commitment, the province is exploring options to ensure the long‐term success of the Ontario Food Terminal for farmers, businesses, and taxpayers. An advisory group with veteran agri‐food industry leaders, in conjunction with an independent third‐party report, will provide further insights and recommendations on the Ontario Food Terminal network to modernize the service and balance the needs of all users.”
To access Ontario’s 2019 budget, go to http://budget.ontario.ca/2019/contents.html
Source: Ontario government April 11, 2019 news release