Manitoba gov’t seeks to repeal hog barn moratorium

Manitoba’s hog barn moratorium might finally be purged, and a host of other farming challenges might become simpler if the provincial government has its way.

The Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act would hit many areas of regulation and legislation that affect farmers, including:

  • “remove general prohibitions from the Environment Act for the expansion of hog barns and manure storage facilities”
  • remove the ban on winter spreading of manure
  • reduce financial reporting requirements of the Veterinary Services Act applying to veterinary services boards
  • allow municipalities more room to fine people who break the Noxious Weeds Act
  • repeal the Manitoba Natural Resources Development Act

The proposed law is part of Progressive Conservative Premier Brian Pallister’s long-anticipated war on “red tape,” which he has consistently referred to since being elected almost a year ago.

The government has moved very slowly in implementing its agenda, taking months to study issues and formulate policies before introducing legislation to the Manitoba legislature.

However, that has changed in recent weeks with major and contentious legislation introduced in quick succession, including legislation to re-open government sector wage contracts and amalgamate government sector worker union bargaining units.

The red tape act is being overseen by Finance Minister Cameron Friesen.

“Our government is committed to eliminating the barriers that prevent business and local governments from thriving and expanding,” said Friesen as he announced the act.

“The Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act would amend or repeal 15 pieces of legislation to reduce the red tape that is creating burdens on business, non-profits, municipalities, private citizens and government officials.”

The hog barn moratorium was being slowly dismantled before this, both with minor easings done by the previous NDP government and with changes to the building code and other regulations by the Pallister government, but language creating a general ban still existed within legislation.

The winter manure spreading ban upset many small hog barn operators, since few had manure lagoons large enough to hold a year’s worth of manure. Most larger barns have enough capacity that it is not an issue for them. 

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