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Canada: Mushroom growers have to pay the carbon tax unlike other greenhouse operators

Mushroom growers operate in greenhouses but are not allowed the carbon tax exemption that other fruit and vegetable growers can claim for heating their structures with natural gas or propane says the Canadian Mushroom Growers Association (CMGA). The Canada Revenue Agency has been unable to provide real reasons why the greenhouse exemption applies to mushroom growers, says Ryan Koeslag, CMGA's Executive Vice-President and CEO.

Mushroom producers experience some of the same cost factors as greenhouses, and large concentrations of mushroom farms are located right next to the major greenhouse-growing regions in Canada, he told the Commons agriculture committee. "With no alternative fuel sources currently available, our farms are unfairly penalized by the carbon tax," he said. "The carbon tax is adding additional costs to our farms for uniquely growing food in this country during the Canadian winter."

CMGA President Mike Medeiros, who operates a mushroom farm near Osgoode in eastern Ontario, said he paid just over $150,000 in carbon tax last year. "A couple of years ago, when the greenhouse growers received their exemption, which was up to 80 percent, I reached out to CRA and wondered why the mushroom industry wasn't included in this as well, considering that when we do our taxes, we're in the same code as that for greenhouse growers.

"Basically, they're saying that we're not exempt because we don't have glass roofs with our facilities I know that some of the pot producers don't use glass roofs—they're indoors like we are—and they're exempt from the carbon tax, so I was disappointed with that. I guess if you're a hydroponic grower, as a greenhouse as well, you'd be exempt, even though you don't have a glass roof. I made those points with CRA, and they still wouldn't accept my thoughts on being exempted from the carbon tax."

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