When the cannabis receipts are removed from the mix, total crop receipts fall to $24.6 billion, down 2.3% from the same period in 2018. More provinces show a year-over-year loss, with Saskatchewan crop receipts down 3.2%, Alberta down 4.1% and Manitoba down 8.6% from 2018.
Growing pains exist in how this new industry should be treated. One example is seen in Alberta, where the provincial government is changing the tax status for cannabis production facilities in 2020. Rather than treat these operations as agriculture operations and farm buildings, which allowed them to avoid taxes paid to municipal districts and counties, the buildings will be assessed at market value and taxed at non-residential rates. Municipal Affairs minister Kaycee Madu stated that “Cannabis does not fall into traditional definition of agriculture and should not be tax exempt.”
While governments across the country are forced to move quickly to deal with this industry, Statistics Canada should show leadership in the way farm income statistics are reported in order to avoid misleading headlines and bad policy decisions.
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Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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