Canada’s Food Security Threatened by Carbon Taxes

( Canadian consumers are bracing for a double whammy come April 1st: a rise in the cost of living and potential threats to their food security. The reason? The federal government plans to increase the carbon tax by 23%, pushing the price per ton of emissions from $65 to $80. While this policy aims to combat climate change, experts warn it could have unintended consequences for Canada’s food supply chain.

Sylvain Charlebois, a professor of food economics at Dalhousie University, highlighted the potential impact of social media. He argues that the primary concern should be the competitiveness of Canadian food producers. The rising carbon tax, he says, is narrowing the gap between wholesale food prices in Canada and the United States. This trend could significantly impact food security in the long run.

This concern isn’t unfounded. Data from Statistics Canada reveals a worrying trend: food prices have risen by a staggering 21% since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. Everyday staples like milk, butter, and eggs have all seen significant price hikes. For instance, a liter of milk has jumped from $2.56 to $2.91, a 14% increase.

But the picture isn’t entirely bleak. Charlebois points out that some food prices have remained stable or even declined. Examples include almonds, pork shoulders, canned tuna, and chicken breasts. However, it’s important to note that these statistics don’t differentiate by brand, which could mask price variations within specific categories.

The ripple effects of the carbon tax are also impacting the restaurant industry. Professor Charlebois previously forecasted a significant rise in wholesale food prices, potentially leading to a 46% increase in restaurant food costs by 2025. This could translate to higher menu prices for Canadians dining out.

Beyond consumer concerns, small businesses are also feeling the pinch. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) claims the federal government has fallen short of its promise to return 9% of carbon tax revenue to small businesses through grants and rebates. They estimate that Ottawa owes small businesses over $2.5 billion. The CFIB is urging the government to address these concerns and potentially freeze the carbon tax at its current level.

However, the Canadian government’s Emissions Reduction Plan, launched in 2019, gradually increases the carbon tax yearly. The goal is to reach $170 per ton by 2030, incentivizing Canadians to adopt cleaner energy practices.

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