Joint Statement from the 2021 Federal-Provincial-Territorial Agriculture Ministerial Co-Chairs on Proposed Changes to the AgriStability Program
January 19, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
“As co-chairs of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) agriculture ministerial meetings, we urge all provincial and territorial Ministers to support the proposed changes to the AgriStability program.
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged farmers in unprecedented ways. From labour, to housing, to processing issues every aspect of farming has been impacted by the pandemic. Through it all, our farmers have pressed on and continued to work tirelessly to ensure that their workers are kept safe from the outbreak and that our grocery stores remain stocked with safe, nutritious, Canadian food. However, farmers across the country continue to face challenges, which is why the swift endorsement and delivery of this enhanced AgriStability program is critical.
The offer to improve AgriStability includes the removal of the reference margin limit as well as an increase of the AgriStability compensation rate from 70% to 80%.
Taken together this would result in a 50% increase, around $170 million per year in direct support to farmers who need it the most.
In order for these changes to be put in place, we need the support of a large majority of provinces and territories soon.
Accepting the proposed changes soon is key to ensuring the enhanced supports can be applied retroactively to 2020, something we know farmers across the country have been asking for.
Since the federal government has confirmed its 60% contribution, it rests with the undeclared provinces and territories to come forward with their 40% share. We thank those provinces who have already confirmed their participation and hope to hear from those others soon.
Furthermore, for many years we have been consulting on improving the suite of business risk management programs and we agree that fixing AgriStability is the priority. It needs to be simpler, fairer, more predictable and more generous.
While the proposed changes to AgriStability may not be the perfect solution for all farmers or governments, they reflect a good start to achieving a national consensus and allow Canada’s Agriculture Ministers to continue discussing enhancements to the program while still improving supports for farmers today.
We are all committed on more long-term changes to the suite of Business Risk Management programs as we begin consultations for the start of the next 5-year policy framework, which begins in 2023.
Improving the BRM programs is a top priority for our Governments. Farmers have shown their resiliency during COVID-19, however many could still use the added help that these short-term changes could provide. We have an opportunity to act now, to offer them increased support. It’s time to get it done.”
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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