Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced over $252 million in aid to help Canada’s agriculture and food sectors.
Trudeau, who thanked everyone working in the food industry, said that workers must take additional measures to protect themselves and change the way they work in the sector.
Of the funding announced, $77 million will be for food processors to protect the safety of their workers, to buy more personal protective equipment (PPE) or adjust hygiene protocols, and to support other social distancing measures.
Pork and beef producers will be receiving $125 million to help adapt to market changes, and $50 million will be allocated to fight food insecurity.
Trudeau also launched a $200 million credit line for dairy producers.
On April 30, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture asked the federal government to provide an Agriculture and Agri-Food Emergency Fund of $2.6 billion to help maintain food security in Canada in response to COVID-19.
The federation said that the amount is based on estimates of the immediate impacts of COVID-19 provided by agricultural commodity groups across the country.
“The emergency fund is required because of the shut down of the food service sector, processing plant closures and other supply chain disruptions and increases in labour and associated costs,” said the federation.
Mary Robinson, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, said that agriculture is a “unique player” in Canada’s economy.
“We understand that the entire country is under duress,” said Robinson in a statement. “Not only does agriculture create value for our economy, act as stewards of our environment and employ over two million Canadians, agriculture also provides us the unique benefit of food — not only for Canada but for the world at large.”
In response to the difference between the amount requested by the federation, Trudeau said the government will be there to help.
“We know there is more to do,” Trudeau said, adding that this is an initial investment, and more will need to be done as the needs increase.
“This is immediate relief,” said the prime minister. “These measures will primarily protect the employees to keep the meat supply chain intact.”