The Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) is encouraged by the November 27 announcement that the federal government is proposing to enhance the AgriStability Business Risk Management program. Specifically, the proposal suggests removing the reference margin limit and increasing the compensation rate from 70 per cent to 80 per cent. Other enhancements would apply retroactively to the 2020 year and ongoing. This is a significant first step in bringing meaningful improvements to the AgriStability program and would benefit many fruit and vegetable growers across the country.
Since program changes were introduced in 2013, CHC and many other agriculture stakeholders have been advocating for restoring the program’s coverage to 85 per cent, and removing the reference margin limit. CHC would like to thank the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau for her leadership to bring in these much-needed changes to support Canada’s agriculture sector.
However, without also increasing the trigger to 85 per cent, the proposal will have minimal impact for certain sectors in horticulture; for instance, fruit and greenhouse vegetable growers. We still strongly believe this measure is needed to give growers the assurance they need to continue their operations under such difficult and uncertain circumstances.
CHC would like to thank the federal-provincial-territorial agriculture ministers for their work to improve AgriStability, and for holding meaningful discussions on other issues that are currently facing the sector. We encourage the ministers to return to the table as quickly as possible to finalise these enhancements to AgriStability, while continuing work on how to support commodities not adequately covered by the current proposal.
“We look forward to continuing to work with FPT Agriculture Ministers to get our growers the supports that they need,” said CHC executive director, Rebecca Lee. “Without the additional measures we are requesting, many growers will continue to face difficult decisions as to whether or not they can take on the risks associated with producing fruits and vegetables– not just in this exceptionally challenging year but every season, as risks associated with weather, pests and market instability continue to rise.”
Source: Canadian Horticultural Council November 30, 2020 news release