Agriculture wages could qualify for federal essential pay top up

A recently announced wage top-up program could apply to farm and food industry workers, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the $3 billion in funding “to increase the wages of low-income essential workers” late last week, and a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) says that provinces and territories have confirmed, or are in the process of confirming, plans to cost-share the wage top-ups for essential workers.

According to the PMO, each province or territory will determine which workers would be eligible for support, and how much support they will receive. AAFC Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau alluded to agriculture being deemed essential by provinces, thus making wage earners eligible for a portion of the $3 billion.


Several agriculture commodity groups have criticized the federal government’s support for the industry, saying that farms and agri-food businesses don’t qualify for much of the funding. Last week, the government announced $252 million in funding for food processors to safeguard workers in plants, the AgriRecovery program, and a food surplus purchase program.

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