Farm Vehicle Classification

Res #: 25-05A
Number: 25
Year: 2005
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI)

Resolution No. 25-05A

WHEREAS, producers have been facing rising input costs; and

WHEREAS, many producers have experienced low yields and damaged crops for several years; and

WHEREAS, crop insurance premiums have risen substantially, SaskEnergy rates have escalated, SaskTel has raised their rates, and Saskatchewan Government Insurance is now threatening our farm vehicle plate designation along with raising vehicle plate costs;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that SARM lobby the Saskatchewan Government to leave the farm classification for vehicles as it was, and the rates not be allowed to exceed 2004 levels.

Response from Honourable Maynard Soontag, Minister Responsible for SGI:

SGI has made, or is in the process of making, several changes which impact farmers. Some are in response to the changing needs of farmers; others are in response to the need for fairness and equity in Saskatchewan's vehicle registration system. In 2002, access to farm plates was expanded to farmers who are either shutting down or diversifying their farm operation. With this change, farmers can conduct farm plate transactions for up to one year after they have quit farming.

Similarly, farmers are entitled to retain their farm plate class while diversifying their farm operations, even though they may not meet the legislated eligibility requirements during the transition period. These changes recognize that the family farm situation is changing and ensures as many farmers as possible have access to farm plates. Farmers have always been provided with lower insurance rates and registration fees for farm vehicles. In addition, SGI has doubled their discounts under its Business Recognition and Safe Driver Recognition programs effective January 1, 2005. The intent of these programs is to reward Saskatchewan motorists, including farmers, who have driven without incident or accidents over the previous years by discounting their vehicle insurance rates.

Effective January 1, 2005, changes have been made to simplify to vehicle registration system for light vehicles. This change moves vehicles registered in five different classes to one class, Light Vehicle (LV), which allows broad uses and few restrictions. The purpose of this change was to streamline and simplify the vehicle registration systerm for Saskatchewan motorists. Although light farm pickups will remain in Class F, farm vans, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) that are one ton and smaller will move to the new Class LV. SGI made this change because the vast majority of farm vans and SUVs are being used as personal conveyance vehicles (like farm cars). However, farms vans and SUVs moving to Class LV will retain the farm discount, and there will be very little impact on registration fees.

It should be noted that Class LV vans and SUVs owned by farmers will no longer be allowed to use farm fuel, which includes tax-free coloured diesel and bulk farm gasoline taxed at three cents per litre. Farm fuel is not intended for personal use, such as traveling to and from stores, school, work, or for recreational purposes. In the past, although farm cars were registered in Class PV and received a farm car discount, they were not able to use farm fuel. These same rules will now apply to all personal conveyance vehicles, including farm cars, vans and SUVs.