Support for Agriculture, Farming, and Food Processing
COVID-19: Agriculture Response Program
The COVID-19 Agriculture Response Program was designed by the Government of Nova Scotia to help Nova Scotia’s agriculture industry mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry’s competitiveness, productivity and profitability. There are 4 streams for funding under the COVID-19 Response and Mitigation Program. The funding doesn’t need to be repaid.
- Stream 1: COVID-19 Mitigation and Adaptation for Health Protocol:
- Applicants are eligible for 75% funding assistance on total eligible project costs to a maximum of $50,000 per program year, to help applicants comply with recommended health protocols.
- Stream 2: COVID-19 Marketing, Product Movement and Distribution
- Agriculture companies and registered Nova Scotia farms as applicants are eligible for 50% funding assistance on total eligible project costs to a maximum of $20,000 per project.
- Stream 3: COVID-19 Strategic Projects
- Initiatives at a sector or industry level will be reviewed for funding on an individual basis. If they’re deemed to meet the objectives of the Program, they will be assessed on an individual merit, impact and reach basis.
- Stream 4: COVID-19 Abattoir Efficiency and Development
- Applicants are eligible for 75% funding assistance on total eligible project costs to a maximum of $50,000 per program year.
Government of Canada Announces Multimillion Emergency Aid Package
The Government of Canada has announced a multimillion-dollar aid package aimed at helping farmers and food processors safely navigate the novel coronavirus pandemic. The announcement included:
- Creating 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 so they can better supply Canadians with food during this period.
- Launching national AgriRecovery initiatives of up to $125 million in funding to help producers faced with additional costs incurred by COVID-19. This includes set-asides for cattle and hog management programs to manage livestock backed-up on farms, due to the temporary closure of food processing plants. This new federal funding will help beef and pork producers and processors adapt to a changing market, and help farmers and ranchers keep their animals longer before marketing.
- Announcing 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.
- Launching a first-ever 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 and territories 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 and territories 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.
Further details will be released at a later time.
VIEW MAY 5 ANNOUNCEMENT
Farm Safety Nova Scotia
Farm Safety Nova Scotia has developed a COVID-19 resource page with resources available in both English and Spanish to help manage the new working requirements. The resources range from a COVID-19 fact sheet, guidance for farmers to information graphics for workers on hand washing, how to protect themselves, how to stop the spread, and procedures if workers are showing signs and symptoms of the illness.
Youth Employment and Skills Program
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada is taking steps to ensure the resilience of the food supply chain and to provide support to keep the agriculture sector strong. The Government has announced an investment of up to $9.2 million to enhance the Youth Employment and Skills Program (YESP) and fund up to 700 new positions for youth in the agriculture industry.
This additional funding will help the agriculture industry attract Canadian youth, ages 15 to 30, to their organizations to assist with labour shortages brought on by the pandemic. This program aims to provide youth, and particularly youth facing barriers to employment, with job experience in agriculture that will provide career-related work experience. The YESP will provide agriculture employers up to 50 per cent of the cost of hiring a Canadian youth up to $14,000. Indigenous applicants and those applicants hiring a youth facing barriers are eligible for funding of up to 80 per cent of their costs.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety – Tips for Workplace Safety in Agriculture Industry
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has developed a tip sheet with information for employers and workers in the agriculture industry to consider.
Farm Credit Canada
To ensure producers, agribusinesses and food processors can remain focused on business-critical functions rather than worrying about how to access funds to keep operating through this challenging period, effective immediately, Farm Credit Canada has put in place:
- a deferral of principal and interest payments up to six months for existing loans;
- a deferral of principal payments up to 12 months
- access to an additional credit line up to $500,000, secured by general security agreements or universal movable hypothec (Québec only)
For more information, businesses should contact their local office or the Customer Service Centre at 1-888-332-3301 for further details.
Farm Credit Canada has also put together a number of resources and advice around updating a business’ HR plan in case of an employee outbreak.
Canadian Agricultural HR Council – Agri – HR Toolkit
The Canadian Agricultural HR Council (CAHRC) has developed a dedicated webpage with the latest information, recommendations, employee management tips, tools (posters, policies) and links to authorities to aid the Agriculture industry respond to the pandemic and limit the impact and spread of COVID-19 within businesses.
Canadian Federation of Agriculture Resources
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture has been collected a number of resources in response to COVID-19 as it relates to Canadian Agriculture.