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Support Programs for the Agriculture Industry During COVID-19

Support Programs for the Agriculture Industry During COVID-19

4 Minute Read

During constantly evolving situations like the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s critical that you have access to the most reliable, relevant and up-to-date information and strategies.

COVID19 - Federal and Provincial Support Programs Available

During constantly evolving situations like the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s critical that you have access to the most reliable, relevant and up-to-date information and strategies. 

We’re here to help you navigate these uncertain times and keep your operation on a safe pathway through disruption. If you have any questions or concerns about what to do next, please reach out to your local business advisor or farm management consultant.

Due to the ever evolving benefits, credits and support payments as part of the government's response to the COVID19 Global Pandemic the information below is subject to change at any time.

Overview of Programs Available:

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

General Overview:
Partial reimbursement of remuneration paid to arm's length employees (up to 75 percent) who have seen a substantial decrease in revenues as a direct result of COVID-19 to a maximum of $847 per week per employee.

Temporary Wage Subsidy (TWS)

General Overview:
Eligible employers are able to reduce the amount of payroll deductions remitted to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) by up to 10 percent of the remuneration paid to employees to a maximum of $25,000 per employer.

Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW)

General Overview:
Additional details are forthcoming. Provides eligible employers with $1,500 per temporary foreign worker as a means to ensure that employers are promoting the temporary foreign worker self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival to Canada are required under the Quarantine Act.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

General Overview:
$40,000 line of credit available for qualifying businesses.

BDC Financing

General Overview:
Loan guarantees for small- and medium-sized businesses whose access to financing has become restricted.

Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRAP):

General Overview:
Additional details forthcoming and expected to be released provincially based on jurisdictions. This program has been introduced to assist small businesses with paying commercial rent for the months of April-June 2020.

Saskatchewan Self-Isolation Support Program ("SSSP")

General Overview:
Provides individuals with up to $900 over a two-week period ($450/week) who have been forced to self-isolation and are not eligible for any other compensation.

Canada and Ontario Supporting Agri-food Sector Supply Chain During COVID-19

General Overview:
The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $1 million in new funding to connect workers with in-demand jobs in the agri-food sector to keep the nation's supply chains strong and store shelves stocked during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Quebec Government Invests $45 Million to Support the Recruitment of Agricultural Workers

General Overview:
The investment of $45 million is intended to attract Quebec workers for the planting and harvesting period

This investment will notably finance four measures which aim to ensure a regular supply of foodstuffs to the population in the context of the current pandemic:

  • A bonus of $100 to seasonal agricultural workers for a minimum work of 25 hours per week;
  • The creation of a new program for the displacement of the workforce which takes into account the rules of social distancing in force;
  • The establishment of squads on the ground which will intervene at the time of the integration of new workers (minimum of five employees to integrate) to support agricultural producers in the training of new workers; and
  • Financial support granted to the 12 agricultural employment centres, to meet the needs of twinning agricultural businesses with new workers. 

Additional Support Measures Deployed by Quebec for Agricultural Producers

Quebec announced the deployment of additional support measures for agricultural producers.


Loan of up to $50,000 to support working capital:

  • In order to contribute to the continuation of the activities of agricultural and agrifood businesses, a loan guarantee of up to $50,000, without taking out any movable or real estate guarantee, may be quickly granted by the FADQ. This measure is accessible to all of the FADQ's funding clientele experiencing temporary liquidity problems related to the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In addition to benefiting from a 10-year repayment period and a 12-month capital payment leave, clients will benefit from the advantageous interest rate of the FADQ. To make a request, they must contact their FADQ financing advisor.

Acceleration of payments of investment subsidies

Payments of investment subsidies provided on June 1 were preceded at May 1. These payments represent an amount of nearly $7 million and are part of the following programs: Support program for regional diversification and development (PDDR), Support program for the development of agricultural enterprises in Quebec (PADEAQ) and Program to support the financing of investments in animal welfare and energy efficiency (PSFI).

Insurance and income protection 

AgriStability: interim payment going from 50 percent to 75 percent of program benefits

Interim payments make it possible to obtain a percentage of the program's benefits more quickly. To request it, producers must contact the financial data collection and processing team. 

Other Government Programs:

AgriStability and AgriInvest (ASAI)

General Overview:
AgriStability - Provides farming businesses with margin-based financial support in years when they experience significant losses from their operations.

The AgriStability enrolment deadline for the 2020 program year has been extended without penalty, from April 30th to July 3, 2020.

This extension will allow farmers more time to sign up and benefit from the program. This exceptional step, agreed to by federal, provincial, and territorial governments, will enable the program to help more farmers manage the impact of current market disruptions, increased expenses, and production challenges facing many farm operations. Farmers experiencing losses are encouraged to apply for interim payments under AgriStability for more rapid support.

Read full release here.

AgriInvest - Provides primary producers with a separate government savings program in which the government will match contributions made during the year to a maximum of $10,000 per year.

Stay of Default under the Advance Payments Program (APP)

On March 23, 2020, the Government of Canada announced an extension to an existing Stay of Default and two new Stays of Default. We would like to clarify that the Stays only apply to a restricted number of commodities who received advances in a specific program year. These commodities will be eligible for a Stay if their repayment deadline is within the dates identified. 

  • A six-month extension of the Stay of Default on 2018 grain, oilseed and pulse advances which would have expired on March 31, 2020 and has been extended to September 30, 2020.
  • A six-month Stay of Default on 2018 advances on cattle and bison producers which would have come due on March 31, 2020 and have been extended to September 30, 2020; and
  • A six-month Stay of Default on 2019 advances on flowers and potted plants, which would have come due on April 30, 2020 and has been extended to October 31, 2020.

A producer is allowed to have advances under multiple program years, including a Stay, but the sum of those advances need to be within the total program limit of $1 million. 

Producers can continue to receive up to $100,000 in interest-free advances for each program year. For most of the commodities, the 2020 program year started April 1, 2020. With respect to the Stays of Default and the repayment deadlines announced, under certain circumstances, it is possible that a producer has an outstanding interest free advance from a previous program year when requesting a 2020 APP advance. The producer will still be eligible for a 2020 advance of $100,000 interest-free, potentially giving them for a limited period, interest-free advances greater than $100,000.

Government Updates:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

The CFIA posted a notice to industry on its website April 20, 2020, to advise that the Agency and the USDA have agreed to a six-month extension for approved facilities to continue to export certain animal products, by-products and pet foods. This will be effective immediately and will run until September 30, 2020.

This will ensure the CFIA can continue to provide critical inspections and help maintain bilateral trade flows of animal products between Canada and the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic situation. Real full statement here .(https://www.inspection.gc.ca/covid-19/cfia-information-for-industry/eng/1584462704366/1584462704709)

Province of Saskatchewan and SARM Introduce Road Ban Exemptions for Agriculture Products

To help lessen the impacts of many challenges in the provincial agriculture sector, the Government of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) are working together to lift spring road bans for priority goods.

Providing higher weight limits will require close monitoring by highway and municipal officials to ensure that if conditions changes or if road damage occurs, weight restrictions can be re-applied to ensure road safety – and minimize the need for costly repairs. Shippers are reminded to check in online to ensure they understand what restrictions are in place on provincial roads. Official spring restriction orders are issued every Tuesday and Friday by 12:30 p.m. (CST) during the ban period.

For this year only, there will be no permit requirements for priority goods. Routes will be determined in collaboration with local authorities based on local conditions. Read full release here.

MNP is delivering strategies and insights to help you guide your operation through the pandemic. Visit our Business Advice Centre to learn more.


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