Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau delivered a keynote speech yesterday at the Canadian fruit and vegetable industry's first-ever virtual Fall Harvest event, where she spoke of the importance, strength and resiliency of Canada's fruit and vegetable producers and processors amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister Bibeau highlighted the Government of Canada's efforts to support produce farmers and processors who are facing significant challenges during the pandemic, including the new $35 million Emergency On-Farm Support Fund to support farm workers' health and safety and the $50 million Surplus Food Rescue Program to ensure surplus goods reach vulnerable populations while providing a fair return to producers. The Government has taken many steps to facilitate the arrival of temporary foreign workers into Canada, that has resulted in about 85% of workers to Canadian farms compared to the same time last year. The Government has also recently extended to November 30, 2020 the $50 million Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which helps growers cover the costs of observing the mandatory quarantine periods for those workers.
At the event, Minister Bibeau also announced three new projects to benefit the sector totaling $387,000 under the AgriRisk Initiatives program. These projects will examine better financial tools and insurance products to provide growers with greater stability and sustainability. They included:
Canadian Horticultural Council - $123,269 to research and conduct a risk assessment of the Ontario horticulture sector to support the future development of a whole-farm producer-paid top-up insurance product for horticulture producers through the creation of a Diversity Index..
Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) - $225,000 to develop a risk management financial product for disease and insect infestations for greenhouses, which will be done on the basis of data modeling, frequency events and by consulting insurers.
Association des producteurs maraichers du Québec (APMQ) - invested $38,660 to develop a tool for growers to assess their vulnerability and take the necessary actions to increase their resilience to climate change.
For more information:
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food