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.
Expanded Eligibility under the Canadian Emergency Business Account
On May 19, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Government of Canada (GoC) is expanding the eligibility criteria for the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA).
As part of the new eligibility criteria, the CEBA will now be available to businesses that do not have a payroll. Businesses structured as sole proprietors, and family-owned businesses that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll, are also now eligible for the program. More details, including the launch date for applications under the new criteria and full list of eligible non-deferrable costs, will follow in the days to come.
The CEBA is administered by Export Development Canada (EDC), which works with Canadian financial institutions, including banks and credit unions, to deliver the CEBA loans. The $40,000 loans have zero-interest and are partially forgivable (25 per cent or $10,000) if repaid by December 31, 2022. The CEBA is meant for businesses that have experienced diminished revenues due to COVID-19, and face ongoing non-deferrable costs such as rent, utilities, insurance, taxes and employment costs.
The federal government is also working on other “potential solutions” around CEBA. The Prime Minister said that Minister of Small Business Mary Ng is working to offer support to business owners and entrepreneurs who operate through their personal bank account, as opposed to a business account, or have yet to file a tax return, such as newly created businesses.
CCA commends the GoC for expanding the CEBA eligibility as it addresses a number of barriers cattle producers faced to access the CEBA. CCA encourages government to further expand the CEBA eligibility to producers using personal banking accounts for their operations and include production-related expenses, such as feed, animal health product and fuel costs as eligible non-deferable costs under the CEBA.
For more details on the announcement, 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.