N.B. livestock vet, lab, processor license fees to rise

New Brunswick livestock producers and processors can expect fees to rise in April — and in some cases the next two Aprils — on such provincial services as veterinary visits, lab work and food premises licensing.

The province said Wednesday it has budgeted for increased revenue of almost $6 million from proposed increases in various user fees for "non-core" services the government provides to businesses and residents.

For example, the agriculture department’s current fee for a visit to provide veterinary field services for food- or fur-producing animals is $44, plus $16 for every 15 minute-period or portion thereof spent on the premises.

The per-visit fee would rise to $51 on April 1 this year, then to $59 on April 1, 2013 and $68 on April 1, 2014. The proposed fee per 15-minute period would rise $2 on April 1, and another $3 on each of April 1, 2013 and 2014.

For horses, the per-visit fee, now $52, would rise to $60 on April 1, $69 on April 1, 2013 and $79 on April 1, 2014. Reproductive ultrasound for horses, now $36, would rise to $41, $47 and $54 on those three dates.

The minimum charge for a veterinarian’s expertise on an embryo transfer job, now $330 (based on a per-hour rate of $110), would rise to $380 on April 1, $437 on April 1, 2013 and $503 on April 1, 2014.

Among the fee hikes for veterinary lab services, for another example, the fee for any single parasitology test for a food- or fur-producing animal is now $4.65 and would rise to $5.35 on April 1, $6.20 on April 1, 2013 and $7.15 on April 1, 2014.

Food premises

The provincial health department, which licenses food premises, now charges $225 per year for the annual license for Class 4 premises — places where food is prepared or processed for consumption on- or off-site, without killing, pasteurizing or thermal processing of meat or fish. That fee would rise to $250 on April 1, $255 on April 1, 2013 and $265 on April 1, 2014, allowing for "recovery of costs" by March 31, 2015, the province said.

A Class 5 abattoir license, now also $225 per year, would rise to $350 on April 1, $475 on April 1, 2013 and $600 on April 1, 2014. "Costs related to this category are significantly higher" than the current) fee, the province said.

A Class 5 dairy license, now $450, would rise to $650, $850 and $1,050 on those three dates, the province proposed, adding that the costs in that category are also "significantly" higher than the current fee. Only four such licenses are now issued in New Brunswick.

Licenses for Class 3 to 5 not-for-profit food premises, now just $1, would rise to $3 starting April 1, raising an additional $496 in annual provincial revenue, the government said.

Pesticide handling

Among other fees set to rise, the provincial environment department will charge $165 as of April 1 for a pesticide vendor’s license (with storage), up from $150.

A pesticide operator’s license will also rise April 1 from $150 to $165, while a pesticide use permit will cost $220, up from $200.

"Because of the large deficit our government inherited, a lot of hard work and many difficult choices must be made to return our province to balanced budgets," provincial Finance Minister Blaine Higgs said in a release Wednesday.

The province sees the fee increases as "a fair way to raise revenue," he said. "We are charging additional fees to those people who use these services."

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