Cash advance program not impacted by strike, but AgriStability delays could indirectly affect some applicants

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With crop input purchases adding up in spring, some farmers that rely on the federal government’s Advance Payments Program for cash flow have inquired whether the federal public service strike will affect the short-term loan program.

The cash advance program is administered by 30, third-party producer organizations, so the strike is not having any direct impact.

However, producers who use the federal AgriStability program as security for their livestock or other pre-production cash advance applications in certain provinces could be affected.

That’s because AgriStability is administered by federal employees — some of who are on strike — in Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Yukon.

“To the degree possible, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is working with APP administrators to minimize resulting delays where AgriStability is administered federally and enrolment notices have not yet been processed,” says a department spokesperson. “AAFC will continue to monitor the situation for potential impacts on the issuance of APP advances.”

The federal program provides eligible producers with short-term loans, with up to $250 thousand interest-free. The federal budget legislation tabled by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland last month would raise the interest-free portion to $350 thousand, if the bill is approved by Parliament.

Over 100 thousand federal employees, including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Canadian Grain Commission staff, have been on strike since last week, calling for higher wages, permanent work-from-home provisions, and other benefits.

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