Submitted by Darcy Higgins on Tue, 09/30/2014 - 22:28
Sustain Ontario webinar raising excellent questions and ideas, October 23
One year after passage as part of the Local Food Act, this tax credit is now available for farmers and other food producers/harvesters who donate to programs that benefit those needing access to food. It provides an incentive for producers to provide fresh and local food - it could mean less food waste and some money for farmers to cover their costs.
You may remember the tax credit from the Local Food Act debate last fall. It was developed in MPP Bob Bailey's private members bill with support from the Ontario Association of Food Banks and was adopted by the provincial government as part of the Local Food Act.
Food Forward worked in committee with members of all parties, especially MPP Ernie Hardeman. He brought forward a motion with our amendment to expand the credit to include not only food banks, but charitable organizations that distribute food in schools, community food centres, youth or seniors programs. These programs can take advantage of the credit as long as they distribute food for free and "provide relief for the poor". This means community food programs such as those that partner with neighbourhood centres, agencies or community health centres are eligible. Recognition of community food programs by the government and Ministry of Finance is a much broader success.
Connect with Food Forward or directly with the Ministry of Finance for more details. A full explanation is here.
Access to fresh food is sorely needed in food distribution programs such as food banks, soup and community kitchens, and other programs. This is why we are now calling for a sustainable fund for fresh food and the infrastructure to prepare it in our Food Nation platform. While the tax credit is a positive step, it should not be viewed as a substitute for deeper action. We support the need for fundamental changes to food system policy and income fairness for all, so people do not have to rely on donations for food.