By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
The Government of Alberta has announced a new Agri-Processing Investment Tax Credit as a measure to attract and expand investment in the Province’s agri-processing sector.
The measure will provide a 12 per cent non-refundable tax credit which can be used against capital expenditures made by corporations investing $10 million or more into agri-food processing facilities in Alberta.
The tax credit will be introduced in Budget 2023 as a measure to attract and expand Alberta’s capacity for agri-food processing. Following record high food manufacturing sales in 2021, the sector reigned as the most dominate manufacturing industry in Alberta, representing almost one quarter of all manufacturing sales that year, reaching over $20 billion in sales, and employing 22,400 Albertans.
President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance, Travis Toews said the tax credit, “further positions Alberta as an attractive place to do business.” With one of the largest concentrations of agri-processing businesses, southern Alberta is home to Canada’s Premier Food Corridor which extends along Highway 3 between the City of Lethbridge and Taber.
Executive Director of SouthGrow Regional Initiative, Peter Casurella, said SouthGrow is seeing, “a ton of interest in the region from companies all across the world,” who are looking to expand operations or get a foothold into the Canadian market.
Casurella said despite the region being well-suited to attracting and retaining agri-processing investment, “other jurisdictions have been out-competing southern Alberta with their incentives,” adding places like Saskatchewan are offering various cash incentives to companies to set up shop there.
“This announcement puts another tool in the hands of people looking for ways to secure investments from large companies considering between several different locations, because while southern Alberta holds immense potential in the agri-food and agri-processing sectors, we are in competition with Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and even locations in the United States.”
As part of the Feb. 7 announcement, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Nate Horner highlighted, “Alberta has the fundamentals to take our value-added agriculture industry to new heights and meet the increasing global demand for food.” Horner said the new tax credit will play a key role in attracting projects to grow the industry, play a role in job creation, support primary producers in Alberta, and meet the rising global demand for food. Projections cited by the Province suggest that by 2050, the global demand for food is expected to increase by up to 56 per cent.
Casurella added the rollout of the tax credit comes at an ideal time noting how the complex global geo-political landscape has accelerated conversations around global food security.
“It has become more important than ever, particularly as supply chains are continually being threatened and disrupted, folks are looking for places that are safe and reliable to produce the food products on a global scale, and southern Alberta is certainly that location.”