October 5, 2020 By Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (edited)
Ottawa announced today that applications are now being accepted for the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund in certain provinces and territories, providing up to $100,000 per recipient in non-repayable funding for emergency COVID-19 response activities. Totalling $35 million, the investment aims to improve health and safety on farms and in employee living quarters to prevent and respond to the spread of COVID-19.
The Emergency On-Farm Support Fund will provide support to farmers for direct infrastructure improvements to living quarters and work stations, temporary or emergency housing (on- or off-farm), as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitary stations, work stations and any other health and safety measures to safeguard the health and safety of Canadian and temporary foreign workers from COVID-19.
“Protecting the health and well-being of all farm workers who are helping ensure the food security for Canadians has been a top priority since the beginning of the pandemic. This is why we will continue to provide farmers with the support they need to ensure the right measures are in place to safeguard their employees and limit the spread of the virus. Additional support will also be provided to women and youth as the government is keenly aware that these groups have been uniquely affected by COVID-19,” says Agriculture and Agri-food Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau.
The Fund will be delivered by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Contributions under the AAFC-managed program will be cost-shared 50:50 with the applicants up to $100,000. An additional 10 per cent will be provided to women and youth applicants making the split 60:40 as the government is taking steps to promote and empower women and youth in the agricultural sector. Eligible activities can be retroactive to March 15, 2020 and must be completed by February 26, 2021.
The Fund will be delivered by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Applications are being accepted here.
In the other provinces, work continues with provincial governments to finalize the delivery arrangements with announcements expected through the coming weeks. For the provinces where AAFC is administering the program, the applications will be reviewed as they are received and will put priority on the highest risk farms for COVID-19 outbreaks. A full list of eligible items are available online. Eligible applicants are primary agricultural producers such as a farm, ranch or other operation that produces agricultural products for resale. Aquaculture production is not eligible under the program.
The creation of this fund was first announced by Minister Bibeau and Minister Qualtrough on July 31st, along with increased supports to temporary foreign workers, strengthened employer inspections regime, and the development of improved employer-provided living accommodation requirements.
As part of its actions to protect the health and safety of foreign workers, the Government of Canada has been working with provinces and territories, as well as a range of partners and stakeholders, to ensure employers and temporary foreign workers are aware of their obligations and respect the rules in place to help prevent the importation and spread of COVID 19 in Canada.
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