Second Reading - Bill 101
(27 November 2017)

From Hansard - 27 November 2017

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Bill 101 — The Agricultural Implements Amendment Act, 2017

Hon. Mr. Stewart: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, at the end of my remarks I will move second reading of The Agricultural Implements Act, 2017. Mr. Speaker, The Agricultural Implements Act regulates the sale, lease, and lease-purchase of new and used agricultural implements. The Agricultural Implements Board appointed through the Act investigates and adjudicates complaints regarding warranties, repairs, and parts and services of agricultural equipment.

It has been 14 years since the Act was last revised, and there have been significant changes in the farm implement industry and the marketplace in that time. The current Act does not reflect current advances in technology or farming practices. A number of stakeholders have approached the government to suggest changes or updates to the legislation. The Agricultural Implements Board has asked that the legislation be reviewed with an eye to increasing the levels of compensation for inadequate service. Agricultural implement manufacturers and dealers have asked us to consider the value of this legislation.

Through ongoing discussion with our industry partners, it was agreed that the Act provided the framework for the industry, and that to balance stakeholder interests, the Act should remain in place. They point out: (1) agriculture is evolving at an unprecedented rate and that today’s farmers need access to the latest, most cutting-edge equipment available; and (2) flexibility is essential if implement manufacturers are expected to be industry-leading innovators.

After consulting with stakeholders, the government is ready to act. Mr. Speaker, allow me to detail our proposed changes to the legislature. First, on the advice of the Ministry of Finance, the Agricultural Implements Compensation Fund will be eliminated and all transactions related to The Agricultural Implements Act will now go through the General Revenue Fund.

The move to budgeting and financial reporting on a summary financial basis means the fund’s financials are now being reported as part of the government’s financial results as a whole. Keeping a separate and distinct fund for implement compensation payments no longer serves a purpose.

To address the Agricultural Implements Board concerns about inadequate compensation, the new Act will increase compensation levels and will also increase the penalties on distributors who fail to maintain an adequate supply of repair parts. The new penalties will reflect the current cost of purchasing and repairing modern agricultural implements. They will also reflect the cost of producers of lost revenue and down time as a result of inadequate parts service.

The Act requires that implement dealers have parts available to the producer within 72 hours of a request. Now, Sunday has not been included in that time frame, meaning the mandated three-day turnaround could stretch to four days. A day is a long time, particularly during seeding and harvest. Mr. Speaker, most implement dealers are open seven days a week now and so there is no need for a Sunday exemption. Removing the Sunday exemption will get repair parts into the hands of producers or mechanics more quickly and will not place any unnecessary burdens on implement dealers.

We have reviewed the Act carefully to ensure that there is a clear understanding of the terms. To that end, we will amend the Act so that the reference to repair parts will be amended to say “parts.” This change will help clarify which party is liable for parts, repair, and rental costs related to farm equipment.

Finally, since we are updating the Act to take new technology into account, the clause “by any prescribed means” will be added to the sections dealing with written notes. This will allow all parties to make the best use of modern digital forms of communication and notice as it becomes available to conduct business.

Mr. Speaker, since The Agricultural Implements Act was last updated, many things have changed. The changes we are proposing will bring it up to date with technology and farming practices and allow the Act, the Agricultural Implements Board, our agricultural manufacturing industry, and implement dealers to continue serving the farmers of Saskatchewan.

Therefore, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I move that The Agricultural Implements Act, 2017 be read a second time. Thank you.

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