Letters to the Editor – from Mike Chromczak

Unintended consequences of fertilizer tariffs

Dear Minister Freeland,

On behalf of the Ontario Agricultural Commodity Council (OACC), I want to bring to your attention some of the unintended but serious consequences of tariffs placed on fertilizer imports.

Over the last year, Canadians have observed high food inflation in part due to additional costs on food inputs such as fertilizer tariffs. Ontario farmers have had a highly disproportionate cost added to their businesses due to the fertilizer tariffs. 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 an 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.

We ask that you consider our request above and contact our office if you have any questions.

Mike Chromczak
OACC Chairperson

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