Ontario is moving ahead with changes to the AgriStability program for farmers in the province, regardless of the federal government’s support or the agreement of other provinces.
Last November, the federal government proposed removing the Reference Margin Limit (RML) and increasing the compensation rate from 70 per cent to 80 per cent. Because of how the program is designed, in order to move forward at least two of the Prairie Provinces had to also agree to the changes. That did not occur, and agreement was only reached on removal of the RML.
Ontario supported the federal government proposal then, and has made the decision to move ahead with providing the provincial portion (40 per cent) of the compensation rate increase, retroactive to the 2020 growing season.
“Ontario farmers can’t wait any longer for improvements to the AgriStability program – so the Ontario government is taking action and also calling on the federal government and other provinces to step up as well,” says Lisa Thompson, newly minted Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “By enhancing the AgriStability program, we can better help those Ontario farmers who have been impacted by large income losses from factors outside of their control.”
Over the last year risk management support for Ontario farmers has increased by approximately $75 million. The provincial increase to the compensation rate and the combined federal and provincial support annually through the removal of the RML will result in approximately $25 million in increased support for Ontario farmers. This is in addition to the $50 million announced a year early in annual funding for the Risk Management Program that was announced in July 2020.
“Ontario Pork welcomes this important change to AgriStability. Extreme price volatility and processing slowdowns dramatically impacted our industry in 2020,” says John de Bruyn, chair of Ontario Pork. “This change will help the most affected producers recover. We continue to urge the Federal Minister of Agriculture, Marie-Claude Bibeau to find a way to match these funds.”
More to come…