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Support for farmers during COVID-19

Last updated: Mar. 28, 2021 

Originally published March 27, 2020. 

The following is archived material. Refer to the federal government for more information.

The Government of Canada introduced measures to help farm owners and agricultural producers cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. We provide an overview below.

AgriStability deadline extended

For the 2020 AgriStability program year only, the enrollment deadline has been extended from April 30 to July 3, 2020, to allow more producers to benefit from the program. NOTE: Applications are now closed.

Government boosts lending capacity of Farm Credit Canada (FCC)

The Government of Canada boosted the lending capacity of Farm Credit Canada (FCC) by $5 billion.

The boost will provide additional borrowing flexibility for producers across the country who may be facing cash flow issues or feeling the impact of lost sales.

We reached out to Farm Credit Canada for more details about how the additional lending capacity may help during this time of uncertainty.

What options are available?

Farm Credit Canada (FCC) said they’re “assisting the industry in addressing cash flow challenges so that businesses can remain focused on business-critical functions rather than worrying about how to access funds to keep operating through this challenging period.”

Effective immediately, FCC has put the following deferrals and funding in place:

  • Deferral of principal and interest payments for six months; or
  • Deferral of principal payments up to 12 months
  • Access to an additional credit line up to $500,000, secured by general security agreements

How do I apply?

Accessing additional credit during the COVID-19 outbreak follows the same procedures already in place. To access FCC lending products, call their Customer Service Centre at 1-888-332-3301.

Since each operation is different, with unique financial needs, producers will need to discuss their borrowing requirements with an FCC advisor and may need to consider a combination of the lending options available.

Here’s a video explaining what you can use the loan for:

Am I eligible?

Applicants will be subject to FCC’s normal lending due diligence which evaluates:

  • Business viability
  • Credit history
  • Management integrity and history

New measures to support temporary foreign worker program

Farmers and agricultural producers that hire temporary foreign workers will receive $1,500 per employee to help offset the cost of mandatory isolation protocols. Temporary foreign workers must observe a 14-day quarantine period.

The government is also easing some requirements for the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Most employers need an LMIA before they can hire a temporary foreign worker. An LMIA proves there is a need for talent from abroad and no Canadians workers are available to do the job.

Read more about the measures here.

Emergency Processing Fund

A new $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund will help food producers buy personal protective equipment (PPE), adapt to health protocols, automate or modernize their facilities, processes, and operations, and respond to pressures from COVID-19.

AgriRecovery Initiatives

The government will add up to $125 million to the AgriRecovery fund, to help producers faced with additional costs as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes helping beef and pork producers keep livestock for longer periods of time in feedlots while food processing plants are closed.

Increase to Canadian Dairy Commission’s Borrowing Limit

The government intends to increase the Canadian Dairy Commission’s borrowing limit by $200 million to allow them to buy and store surplus dairy products to avoid food waste during the pandemic.

Surplus Food Purchase Program

They also announced a $50 million fund for a program to purchase surplus food usually bought by restaurants, like potatoes and poultry, and redistribute those products to food banks.

Interim AgriStability Programs

The government will work with provinces and territories to increase interim payments from 50% to 75% through AgriStability, a risk management program that supports producers who face significant revenue declines. This change has already been enacted in British Columbia, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island and Alberta.

Disclaimer: The material above is provided for educational and informational purposes only.

Contact FBC

Have questions about this or other COVID-19 programs for Canadian businesses? Unlimited consultation related to tax matters is a key benefit of FBC Membership. We’re offering a free consult where we get to know your business and determine next steps on saving you time and money. Request a consultation online.

You can also visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre for the latest information for Canadian business owners