Statement by the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau following the 2020 Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Annual Conference
November 27, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
“Today, my provincial and territorial colleagues and I concluded our annual FPT meeting, where we have been seeking common ground on meaningful reforms to the financial safety net available to farmers under the business risk management (BRM) programs.
Building on all the emergency supports we have rolled out this year to support farmers, our Government is ready to step up with improvements to the BRM programs, aiming for 50% increase to the amount paid out to farmers through the income stabilization AgriStability program.
As I have said from the beginning, improving the BRM programs is a top priority for me and our Government.
I am working to build a national consensus, where each jurisdiction pays their share and programs are fair for different sectors.
AgriStability is the main BRM program farmers rely on when they experience a significant income decline. However, since this program was cut in 2013, participation rates have declined to the point where it is clear improvements are needed. At that time, a “Reference Margin Limit” was introduced to AgriStability which can limit the payments a farmer receives and makes the program so complex, farmers can’t predict if they will get a payment or not.
I want AgriStability to provide a greater level of support, while making sure it is simple, predictable and timely for producers.
As a starting point, our Government is looking to remove the RML and we are prepared to look at further immediate enhancements to AgriStability, that would apply retroactively to the 2020 year and ongoing.
To ensure a greater coverage on losses, and to ensure funding is targeted to the farmers who are impacted the most, I am hoping to find consensus on an increase of the AgriStability compensation rate from 70% to 80%.
Taken together, these changes would increase the overall amount AgriStability pays out to farmers by 50%.
While we have not yet found a national consensus on these changes, I hope we can find a path forward soon.
Moreover, as we begin consultations for the next cost-shared agreement, there is a clear collective desire amongst Ministers to make long-term improvements to the suite of BRM programs. These exchanges are helping to lay the foundation for the next framework.
Farmers have faced a stressful year, and Canadians are deeply appreciative of the resilience they have shown to keep our food supply chain running smoothly. I’m thinking particularly of the livestock producers who faced backlogs and price declines this year. An improved AgriStability program would be a huge help to them.
We are ready to deliver for farmers, who continue to deliver for Canadians.”
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau,
Canada's Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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