01/29/2014 05:34 EST | Updated 03/31/2014 05:59 EDT

Cost of complying with federal food safety rules and paperwork rising, says CFIB

REGINA - A new report suggests it costs Canadian farmers and the agriculture industry $657 million a year to comply with food inspection rules.

The figure from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is based on a survey of agri-businesses across the country.

The CFIB also says only one-in-five agri-business owners believe the Canadian Food Inspection Agency provides ‘‘good overall service.‘‘

The lobby group says since 2006, the annual average cost of complying with CFIA rules and paperwork has grown from $19,000 to $20,396 per business.

Sixty per cent of agri-business owners told the CFIB that the federal agency’s regulations add significant stress to their lives.

And, 46 per cent said the agency’s regulations significantly reduce their productivity, up from 40 per cent in 2006.

“Farmers support rules necessary to ensure safe food and are tired of getting the runaround from the CFIA,” says CFIB vice-president Marilyn Braun-Pollon.

“Spending thousands of dollars and countless hours navigating through confusing forms and contradictory information leaves farmers feeling completely frustrated. And this does nothing to promote food safety.”