National Forum

The national forum on farmland protection in Canada took place on June 20-21, 2016, in Ottawa, Ontario.  The purpose of the forum was to bring together Canada’s leading thinkers on agricultural land use planning to critically assess what we are currently doing and what needs to be done to protect the land base as the foundation of our food system.

National Forum Summary Proceedings

Summary/highlights

  • This was the first time that representatives from all of Canada’s provinces attended a national forum on agricultural land use planning.
  • Participants expressed great appreciation for the value of a national, in-person meeting and a strong desire among all attendees to re-convene in two years.
  • The loss of farmland is a general concern among all provinces and a corresponding desire to improve the quality of the provincial legislative frameworks
  • There was general agreement among participants about the assessments of the strength of each provincial legislative framework (Table 1).
  • Beneficial practices centred on the following themes:

– Implementation of provincial legislation framework
– Interdepartmental collaboration and communication at provincial level
– State of local land use planning system (from a provincial perspective)
– Capacity for land use planning at municipal level
– Provincial-local government relations
– Provincial assistance and support to local governments
– Support for farming operations to complement farmland protection
– Use of additional tools to support legislative framework (cont’d)
– Measurement, evaluation, and availability of data
– Presence/absence of political influence
– Level of public support
– Taxation

  • A lack the firm statistics to clearly define the extent of farmland loss is a problem.  There is a clear need for dedicated resources to provide timely, efficient, and accurate information
  • Taxation policy related to farmland is very complicated with a range of approaches used across the country.  A compilation of tax policies would be very helpful.

 

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