Federal Government Announces $252 Million for Agriculture and Agri-Food
On May 5, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an investment of $252 million from the Government of Canada (GoC) in an effort to support farmers, food businesses and food processors through the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Funding earmarked for the beef sector includes $50 million for a set-aside program through AgriRecovery. Stay tuned for more details on how this will be implemented.
It also included $77.5 million in funding to support business continuity within agriculture processing facilities, which includes but is not limited to beef facilities.
The GoC stated that they will be launching the Surplus Food Purchase Program with an initial $50 million in funds designed to help redistribute existing and unsold inventories, which could include products such as potatoes and poultry, to local food organizations who are serving vulnerable Canadians.
Through this announcement, the GoC has also said they will be working with provinces and territories to increase AgriStability interim payments from 50 per cent to 75 per cent, which has already been enacted in some provinces. For more information, please refer to the Business Risk Management Programs section below.
To read the GoC’s full announcement, click here.
For more details on how this funding relates to the beef sector, you can read the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association full statement by clicking here.
The following are support options which may be applicable to Canadian beef producers.
Emergency On-Farm Support Fund
On October 5, 2020, the Government of Canada announced the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund. The program provides $35 million in funding to improve health and safety on farms and in employee living quarters to prevent and respond to the spread of COVID-19.
According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), the fund will provide support to farmers for direct infrastructure improvements to living quarters and work stations, temporary or emergency housing (on or off-farm), as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitary stations, and any other health and safety measures to safeguard the health and safety of Canadian and temporary foreign workers from COVID-19. Contributions under the program will be cost-shared 50:50 with the applicants up to $100,000.
Eligible recipients are primary Canadian agricultural producers (including farms, ranches, and feedlots) that produce agricultural products for resale and employ farm workers, either domestic and/or Temporary Foreign Workers. Eligible farms can be structured as sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations/cooperatives/communal organizations, trusts, or band farms.
AAFC will be delivering the fund to producers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. In British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the program will be delivered by the provincial government or other agency. The roll-out of these programs will occur in the coming weeks.
The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association will communicate additional information about Emergency On-Farm Support Fund when it becomes available. For more details on eligible safety measures and how to apply, click here.
Expanded Eligibility under the Canadian Emergency Business Account
On October 26, 2020, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chyrstia Freeland, announced that the Government of Canada has expanded eligibility to the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) for businesses using a personal banking account.
Prior to this announcement, beef producers running their business through personal accounts were not eligible for the CEBA. Now, beef producers can now open a business account and become eligible to apply.
To be eligible, businesses must have been operating as a business as of March 1, 2020, must successfully open a business account at a Canadian financial institution that is participating in CEBA, and meet the other existing CEBA eligibility criteria. The deadline to apply for CEBA is December 31, 2020.
CEBA provides zero-interest loans up to $40,000 to small business and non-profit organizations that have experienced diminished revenues due to COVID-19 but face ongoing non-deferrable costs, such as rent, utilities, insurance, taxes and wages. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).
On October 9, 2020, the government announced that it is working with Export Development Canada (EDC) and financial institutions to expand the CEBA program by providing an additional interest-free CEBA loan amount of $20,000, of which up to half will be forgivable if the balance of the loan is paid by December 31, 2022. Businesses accessing the additional $20,000 of financing will be required to attest to need. Further details will be available soon and CCA will provide an update at the time of announcement.
For more details on the CEBA and how to apply, click here.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
The Government of Canada’s (GoC) Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) offers a 75 per cent wage subsidy to businesses who have suffered a drop in gross revenue due to the impacts of COVID-19.
For more information, you can visit our Human Resources/Farm Management Page.
Business Risk Management Programs
Producers will continue to have support under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, with business risk management (BRM) programs, designed to help manage significant financial impacts and risks beyond producers' control. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) submitted BRM recommendations to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food for review—to view these recommendations, click here.
The AgriStability program deadline has been extended to July 3, 2020. Some provinces have also increased interim AgriStability payments, but conditions vary based on province. For additional program details on interim payment increases, you can visit the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) website by clicking here.
*Please note the information on the AAFC website refers to deadlines and other delivery details for provinces in which AgriStability is delivered by the Federal Government. In Provinces where AgriStability is delivered provincially, please refer to the links provided at the bottom of the AAFC webpage.
Advocating for BRM Program Improvements
On April 21, 2020, CCA submitted a letter to Deputy Prime Minister Freeland and Minister Bibeau requesting urgent assistance in attaining alignment with the provinces and the implementation of our recommendations to address the critical situation facing Canada’s beef farmers and ranchers. To read the letter, click here.
On March 20, 2020, CCA submitted a letter to Minister Bibeau to outline key recommendations to address the impacts of COVID-19 on Canada’s beef farmers and ranchers. To read the letter, click here.
The Young Cattlemen’s Council has also submitted a letter to the GoC emphasizing the importance of improving and expanding the Livestock Price Insurance program to help young producers manage the significant market uncertainty caused by COVID-19. To view the letter, click here.
Farm Credit Canada
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) has received an additional $5 billion from the Government of Canada to help farmers and agri-food businesses as part of Canada’s response to COVID-19. FCC has received the additional funds in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses and food processors.
This offers increased flexibility to producers who face cash flow issues and to processors who are impacted by lost sales, helping them remain financially strong during this difficult time. FCC stated they will be collaborating with banks, credit unions and other financial institutions to alleviate industry financial pressure. For additional details, please click here.
Stay of Default announced for eligible farmers
Eligible producers who had an outstanding Advance Payments Program (APP) loan due on or before April 30 had the opportunity to receive a Stay of Default, allowing them an additional six months to repay the loan. All producers should contact their APP administrator to enquire about their eligibility for the Stay of Default. The new deadlines for outstanding APP loans are September 30, 2020 for 2018 cash advances for cattle. Click here to see list of APP administrators participating in the Stay of Default.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
For a full list of resources and supports available to the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic through the Government of Canada, please visit the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada website.
Click here: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The Government of Canada has also implemented the following supports pertaining to Canada’s agriculture sector.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit
The Government of Canada launched the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to provide Canadians with temporary income support. This CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. This benefit applies to workers not eligible to EI and facing unemployment, including self-employed individuals and those forced to close shop due to the virus.
To find more details and to determine if you are eligible, you can visit their website by clicking here.
The Government of Canada has expanded Export Development Canada’s ability to provide support by loosening rules on the limit for Canada Account transactions to provide loans to businesses if deemed of national interest.
The Government of Canada has allowed businesses to defer until after August 31, 2020 the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September.