‘The funding our two governments are delivering together today gives Manitoba processors an extra financial boost to adjust to the challenges presented by COVID-19’
The governments of Canada and Manitoba announced a new $3-million cost-shared Canadian Agricultural Partnership program to support projects that will help agricultural processors mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“Food producers and processors have had to deal with so many new challenges over the past months, while continuing to supply Canadians with the high-quality food they produce. Manitoba processors have stepped up to deal with those challenges, just as Canadians have never been more appreciative of the importance of our food supply chain,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food.
“The funding our two governments are delivering together today gives Manitoba processors an extra financial boost to adjust to the challenges presented by COVID-19 and help keep their workers safe.”
The new COVID-19 response initiative will provide financial assistance to agri-food and agri-product processors, food distributors and agri-food industry organizations for personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies, and business continuity practices, training and resources to support COVID-19 mitigation.
Beginning in September, financial assistance will also be available for materials, supplies and equipment rentals needed to adapt production processes to meet social distancing and other precautions related to COVID-19.
Eligible costs must be directly related to the execution of a project and must be incurred between April 1, 2020, and Jan. 31, 2021. Projects must be completed on or before Jan. 31, 2021.
Governments will contribute a maximum of 50 per cent of eligible project costs, up to $25,000 per applicant.
“A COVID-19 response for the agri-food and agri-product sector is needed to ensure processors can adapt, recover and maintain competitiveness,” said Blaine Pedersen, Manitoba’s minister of agriculture and resource development. “The pandemic has required them to make changes to their operations and enhance their employee protections. Manitoba’s food and agri-product processors are significant contributors to our economy, so we are pleased to offer a program that helps respond to these challenges.”
Funding applications are available on the Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development website here.
The five-year, $3-billion Canadian Agricultural Partnership includes $2 billion for cost-shared strategic initiatives delivered by the provinces and territories and $1 billion for federal programs and services.
In June, the federal government launched the $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund (EPF) for the agriculture sector as part of its actions to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of COVID-19.
Ontario also significantly expanded its Agri-food Workplace Protection Program and committed up to $15 million to enhance health and safety measures on farms and in food processing facilities.
British Columbia later provided funding for the Okanagan communities to help with the annual arrival of seasonal fruit pickers and to better protect workers’, employers’ and communities’ health and safety with respect to COVID-19.