Q: What is the government doing for farmers?
A: Farmers have always worked hard day and night to supply a safe and abundant food supply for Canadians. Locally, we have dairy, beef, hogs, poultry, cash crop, fruits, vegetables and other horticultural operations. We’re also blessed to have many farm markets and roadside stands.
At this time, their service to our community and country is more important than ever. Maintaining the integrity of our agri-food supply chain during this COVID-19 emergency is essential.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and its impacts on the Canadian agricultural industry. The Government of Canada is taking the necessary steps to ensure that producers and processors can continue to operate effectively and keep supply lines open, while informing industry of the latest developments.
As the COVID-19 situation develops, AAFC will update this Questions and Answers page.
It includes the latest information on food safety, temporary foreign workers, financial support programs, trade, animal health and more. Check back often.
With planting season upon us, we keep our local farmers in our thoughts and prayers. Help support our local farmers by purchasing produce, baked goods and more from local farm markets when planning your family weekly shopping trip.
Q: What is being done to help the Agriculture Sector?
A: The Federal Government has proposed the following support:
- A $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund to help food producers access more personal protective equipment (PPE), adapt to health protocols, automate or modernize their facilities, processes, and operations, and respond to emerging pressures from COVID-19
- A national AgriRecovery initiative of up to $125 million in funding to help producers faced with additional costs incurred by COVID-19
- The intention to increase the Canadian Dairy Commission’s borrowing limit by $200 million to support costs associated with the temporary storage of cheese and butter to avoid food waste
- A Surplus Food Purchase Program with an initial $50 million fund designed to help redistribute existing and unsold inventories, which could include products such as potatoes and poultry, to local food organizations who are serving vulnerable Canadians
- Working with provinces to increase interim payments from 50 per cent to 75 per cent through AgriStability, a federal, provincial and territorial program that supports producers who face significant revenue declines. This change has already been enacted in some provinces
- Working with provinces to explore possibilities for expanding the AgriInsurance program to include labour shortages as an eligible risk for the horticulture sector. This work with provincial and territorial partners would insure against lost production due to an insufficient workforce, should producers be unable to find enough labour to harvest
Q: Will I be able to hire temporary foreign workers, or seasonal agricultural workers for this season?
The federal government confirmed in March that seasonal agricultural workers and temporary foreign workers are exempt from the current travel restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 situation and can travel to Canada by air or land with some of the stipulations listed below.
All temporary foreign workers must follow this criteria:
- Confirm with their prearranged employment that the employer is still operating and will honour the employment offer
- Foreign nationals who are travelling by air will need to pass a health check conducted by airlines before being allow to board
- Any traveller who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada
- On arrival in Canada, a traveller’s health will be assessed before they are allowed to leave the port of entry
- Must isolate for 14 days even if you have no symptoms, this is mandatory
- The federal government has set up a fund to help farmers with the cost of this isolation
We recognize that there is still a lot more work to be done by the Federal Government with regards to supporting the Agriculture Sector and we will work hard to help ensure this happens.