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Ontario’s Hardeman requests federal support ahead of Canadian ag ministers’ meeting


October 14, 2020
By Top Crop Manager

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Hard on the heels of the announcement of joint federal and provincial funding for COVID-19 prevention, Ernie Hardeman, Ontario minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, issued a statement requesting immediate aid for farmers.

In advance of the annual Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture meeting, Hardeman met with leaders of the Ontario agriculture and agri-food sectors to discuss the supports needed to maintain food supply chains.

“Farmers are continuously impacted by market volatility and disruptions which worsened due to COVID-19,” Hardeman writes. “In July, the Ontario government committed to expanding the provincial Risk Management Program by $50 million, a year earlier than planned. But we need the federal government to agree to meaningful enhancements to the suite of national business risk management tools that farmers can access.”

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According to Hardeman, the Ontario government and agri-food sector are united in their call for federal action to assist farmers across Canada, as the problem is national and requires a national solution.

“We are requesting the federal government provide additional federal government support through immediate enhancement of the federal-provincial-territorial AgriStability program to ensure our farmers get the support they need,” Hardeman continues. “We are also asking the federal government to remove the feature of AgriStability, called the Reference Margin Limit, and to lower the margin-loss threshold required to trigger program payments to provide more coverage against income declines.”

Hardeman states these measures will help Canadian farmers continue to operate not only in the face of the pandemic, but will also assist in handling trade and market uncertainty and supply chain disruptions.

The FPT Ministers of Agriculture meeting began today and will continue until Friday, Oct. 16. Due to the pandemic, this meeting was delayed from the original dates of July 15-17.