The Ontario Farmland Trust has been advocating for the establishment of a fiscal incentive program for the protection of agriculturally sensitive land in Canada, similar to the income tax incentives offered through the Ecological Gifts Program.
The Ecological Gifts program encourages voluntary donations of ecologically significant lands, or conservation easements on such lands, to designated conservation agencies by providing tax incentives. However, no such incentive exists for donations of productive agricultural land, which also provides many environmental, social and economic pubic benefits. We must enable the equal treatment for donors of farmland and make agricultural easements equally efficient and effective.
The donation of agricultural easements is a strong statement of commitment to reinforce public policies to conserve agricultural land. Therefore programs to support agricultural easements have a critical role to play in supporting public policy. They represent a private, charitable contribution to support a vital public purpose.
There is an urgent need to address the gap in the existing tax incentives for donations of agricultural land so that the Ontario Farmland Trust, and over 170 other conservation organizations across Canada can provide the private individuals who want to donate farmland or easements on agricultural land with at least the same opportunities that exist for donors of ecologically sensitive land.
Over 70 municipalities and organizations including the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, the Ontario Land Trust Alliance, and others have passed resolutions in support of this initiative to create tax incentives for donations of farmland in Canada.
Click here for a list of municipalities and organizations that support the creation of an agricultural gifts program.
To find out more, read the Ontario Farmland Trust’s proposal for improved farmland preservation incentives.