Here in Ontario, over the next four years, poultry and livestock producers who use unvented gas heaters in their facilities will be required to have them verified for proper installation.
According to Section 7.36 of the Gaseous Fuels Code, Technical Standard and Safety Authority (TSSA) requires a professional engineer to verify installations for farmers to continue to have fuel delivered to their farms.
The regulation has been on the books for many years but TSSA never inspected these facilities since they were more concerned about these heaters being used in areas where “people” were constantly present.
Livestock facilities were never considered to be something that needed inspection until recently. A working group from farm organizations and various commodities advised TSSA on a relatively fair schedule to have the verifications completed.
Although this may be a simple regulation, a form will be required to be posted in the facilities and it will be another piece of “red tape” that farmers need to complete. This is a situation that’s no doubt familiar to farmers in almost any jurisdiction in Canada.
There have been promises of less red tape by politicians but it’s doubtful that there has been a reduction in the past few years. The time and effort to meet more and more regulations adds to the cost of doing business.
Many of these regulations, such as the one mentioned here are more focused on other industries rather than agriculture. The costs for those industries can be added to the cost of production. But because farmers are price-takers not price-setters, it is difficult to add these additional costs to the cost of production. If the consumers want food production, from start to finish, to comply to all the regulations, there needs to be a way for producers to recoup these costs.
Because too often what we’re doing is obeying regulation for the sake of regulation while either actually accomplishing nothing or doing things that are later undermined further down the supply chain.
One example is that there are many requirements for the handling of fresh fruits and vegetables by producers and transporters to keep the produce clean and safe. Nobody would argue with wanting to keep produce in good and wholesome condition, but it’s a bit much when you consider what happens later, and closer to the consumer.
When the produce comes into the store, it is left in the open for people to touch and move without restrictions. So the producers spend time and dollars to follow the required regulations, only to have the stores disregard these regulations when they are displayed openly for the consumer.
If the red tape is not reduced or simplified for the producers, consumers will have to be willing to pay for the time and effort of producers to have the products ready for the consumers.
Farmers are coming to the point where there is no room left for profitability when having to continually bear the cost of these regulations.
Paul Bootsma is the field service manager for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario.