Maintaining and strengthening Canada’s food production and processing sector

News release

June 12, 2020 Ottawa, Ontario - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

COVID-19 has caused significant changes and adaptation in Canada’s food system. As a result, Canadian food producers, processors, and manufacturers have taken on unexpected and exceptional activities associated with risk mitigation measures to be able to maintain Canada’s food production.

That is why 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 Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, today launched the $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund (EPF) as part of the Government of Canada’s action to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of COVID-19.

The program will prioritize projects based on two objectives:

  • Emergency COVID Response to assist companies to implement changes required by COVID-19 to ensure the health and safety of workers. This funding will assist with:
    • plant retrofits or adjustments to existing operations to accommodate changes to processes and production; and
    • increasing capacity for herd management.
  • Strategic Investments to assist companies to improve, automate, and modernize facilities needed to increase Canada’s food supply capacity.

Eligible applicants include for-profit organizations, cooperatives and indigenous groups. Activities can be retroactive to March 15, 2020 and must be completed by September 30, 2020.Information on the application process is available through the Emergency Processing Fund or to learn more, please contact aafc.epf-fut.aac@canada.ca or call: 1-877-246-4682.

Quotes

“Canadian food processors are key to ensuring Canada’s food supply chain is protected during COVID-19, and beyond. Our Government understands the challenges that Canadian food processors, producers and manufacturers are facing. This Emergency Processing Fund will help our processors to adapt their activities to ensure the safety of their workers, and to increase their capacity of production.”

- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Quick facts

  • Applications are being accepted (AAFC Emergency Processing Fund) on a continuous basis until 12:00 p.m. (midnight) EDT Friday, July 31, 2020 or earlier if funding is fully allocated before that date.

  • This announcement builds on the measures we have introduced to keep Canada’s agri-workforce strong, including:

    • 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.
    • Travel exemptions for all temporary foreign workers, including seasonal agricultural workers and fish/seafood workers.
    • $50 million to help the farming, fish harvesting, and food production and processing sectors cover the incremental costs of associated with the mandatory 14-day isolation period imposed under the Quarantine Act on temporary foreign workers upon entering Canada.
    • An expanded Canada Summer Jobs program to prioritize agri-food workers.
    • IRCC changes to its process to allow temporary workers with an employer-specific work permit, including in agriculture, to quickly change employers when they find a new job. Workers who used to wait 10 weeks or more to begin a new job, will now only wait 10 days or less.
    • A pilot project for temporary foreign workers who work year-round in the agriculture industry to have a pathway to permanent residency.
    • A ‘Step up to the Plate’ employment portal and agriculture jobs recruitment campaign.

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Contacts

Jean-Sébastien Comeau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
jean-sebastien.comeau@canada.ca
343-549-2326

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972
aafc.mediarelations-relationsmedias.aac@canada.ca
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