QUEEN’S PARK – On Tuesday, Bill 36 – Local Food Act, 2013, received unanimous support at third reading from MPPs at Queen’s Park. The Local Food Act enshrines into law Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey’s longstanding initiative to create a tax credit for farmers who donate agricultural products to Ontario food banks and community food programs.
“There is a real need in Ontario’s food banks and community food programs for fresh and nutritious foods; I am thrilled that this tax credit for farmers was recognized by MPPs as a way to help generate those much needed donations” said MPP Bailey. “This will help get more fresh local food to those who need it the most and ensure that the Local Food Act actually has an impact.”
The Local Food Act, which will receive Royal Assent from the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario on Wednesday, creates a non-refundable tax credit worth 25% of the current market value of the donated agricultural product to farmers who donate to a community food program, including a food bank. In order to be eligible the program must be run by a registered charity and must provide the food free of charge.
Just hours before the Local Food Act passed, Food Banks Canada released its Hunger Report, 2013. The annual report from Food Banks Canada shows that last year in Ontario 375,814 people were assisted by food banks; more than 131,000 of those individuals were children. Moreover, the Ontario Association of Food Banks believes that 70 per cent of Ontarians using food banks do not have access to the recommended daily servings of fruit and vegetables.