|What supports are available for the farming community?
- On Friday March 20th, 2020: the Government announced an exemption for the Temporary Foreign Worker and Seasonal Agriculture Worker Programs following the closure of the border to the majority of non-citizens. This exemption includes seasonal agricultural workers, fish/seafood workers, caregivers and all other temporary foreign workers.
- A number of changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker and Seasonal Agriculture Worker Programs. These changes include:
- A temporary modification to the Labour Market Impact Assessment process for agriculture and food processing employers, waving the 2-week recruitment period for the next 6 months.
- Increasing the maximum allowable employment duration for workers in the low-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program from 1 to 2 years.
- Farm Credit Canada will receive support from the Government of Canada that will allow for an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors. This will offer increased flexibility to farmers who face cashflow issues and to processors who are impacted by lost sales, helping them remain financially strong during this difficult time.
- In addition, all eligible farmers who have an outstanding Advance Payments Program (APP) loan due on or before April 30 will receive a Stay of Default, allowing them an additional six months to repay the loan. This important measure, which represents $173 million in deferred loans, will help keep more money in farmers’ pockets during these critical months.
- The Stay of Default will also provide farmers the flexibility they need to manage their cashflow when facing lower prices or reduced marketing opportunities. Applicable farmers who still have interest-free loans outstanding will have the opportunity to apply for an additional $100,000 interest-free portion for 2020-2021, as long as their total APP advances remain under the $1 million cap.