Ottawa, Ontario urge support of AgriStability changes

Federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and her Ontario counterpart have issued a statement urging all provinces to support proposed changes to AgriStability.

Swift endorsement and delivery of this enhanced AgriStability program is critical,” Bibeau and Ernie Hardeman said.

They said farmers face challenges from COVID-19, yet have pressed on.

“While the proposed changes to AgriStability may not be the perfect solution for all farmers or governments, they reflect a good start to achieving a national consensus and allow Canada’s agriculture ministers to continue discussing enhancements to the program while still improving supports for farmers today,” said the statement.

The changes would increase the compensation rate from 70 percent to 80 percent while removing the reference margin limit.

The ministers said the two measures together would increase direct support to farmers by 50 percent, or $170 million per year.

Ottawa has already said its 60 percent share of the program cost is in place and it’s up to the provinces to sign on.

However, the prairie provinces in particular have said they would have a hard time paying the extra costs.

Bibeau and Hardeman said they are committed to more long-term changes, but there is an opportunity to act now to provide increased support.

“It’s time to get it done,” they said.

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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