Fall Economic Statement takeaways

Fall Economic Statement takeaways
Dec 01, 2020

Ag is included in the official document

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Canadians should have three takeaways from Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s Fall Economic Statement, the federal ag minister said.

“First, the Canadian government will still be there for Canadians, individually and for businesses, until the end of the pandemic,” Marie-Claude Bibeau told Farms.com.

Freeland delivered the Fall Economic Statement in the House of Commons on Monday, highlighting the federal government’s plan to fight the pandemic, support Canadians and invest in an economic recovery.

Part of helping Canada get back on its feet is ensuring enough vaccines are available for Canadians.

Canada is prepared to acquire and distribute vaccines when it is safe to do so, Bibeau said.

“It’s hard to give a date right now because it depends a lot on the (pharmaceutical) industry, but we have a very impressive number of contacts with the vaccine (manufacturers) and we are very confident Canada will be well served.”

During her address, Freeland noted the federal government has acquired 429 million doses of vaccines from seven leading candidates.

The third takeaway is that Canada has laid the groundwork for an economic recovery.

The government has given itself a window to “invest strongly in our economy to get back to the levels where we were before the pandemic and create the millions of jobs that we have lost,” Bibeau said.

This recovery is valued at upwards of $100 billion over three years in stimulus spending.

Shifting to sector-specific items in the economic statement, ag is included.

Firstly, the government is extending a program already in place.

Ottawa will spend an additional $34.4 million over four years to extend the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program.

This funding is in addition to $50 million announced in April to help farmers cover costs associated with helping temporary foreign workers isolate upon arrival to Canada.

Under the Quarantine Act, workers coming into Canada must isolate for 14 days.

“We want to support farmers as long as the Quarantine Act applies,” Bibeau said.

Minister Bibeau will also be announcing funding for supply-managed chicken, egg, broiler, hatching egg and turkey farmers.

Those sectors will receive $691 million over 10 years.

“The egg and poultry sectors were asking for investment and market development programs,” she said. “They don’t have the same approach as the dairy farmers who were asking for direct compensation.”

Now that a dollar amount has been established for these programs, the federal government will work with the poultry and egg sectors to shape them, Bibeau added.

Another portion of the fall economic statement related to agriculture is the new Natural Climate Solutions for Agriculture Fund.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will receive $98.4 million over ten years to support the ag sector’s actions on climate change and other environmental priorities.

Part of the government funding will be used to help the ag industry access new technology to lower greenhouse gas emissions, she said.

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