Ottawa, December 18th – Following Tuesday’s Special Federal Provincial Territorial (FPT) meeting of Agriculture Ministers in Ottawa, CFA is disappointed with the lack of clear progress towards meaningful reforms of the BRM suite and frustrated with the lack of urgency in responding to the immediate challenges confronting Canadian producers.
The comprehensive review of BRM programs has been underway for nearly three years. While CFA appreciates the continued focus of FPT governments on this critical issue, the continued lack of progress towards any significant program reforms leaves farmers without much-needed relief at this critical time, nor any certainty that assistance is on the way.
Leading up to this meeting CFA has continued to highlight the need for an urgent and transparent assessment process to determine the extent to which short-term measures are needed in response to the unique trade-related challenges affecting a number of major Canadian agricultural commodities in 2019.
At the same time, CFA has noted for years that enhanced AgriStability coverage is needed to ensure farmers have the help they need moving forward to help manage the increasing risks they face beyond their control.
“The fact that Ministers were unable to commit to truly meaningful program reforms, while pushing this issue further down the road through further program reviews, suggests a lack of urgency and a continued disconnect between FPT governments and the realities facing farmers. Farmers continue to see increased trade and policy-related risks exacerbate already challenging weather conditions, threatening the viability of many farms and undermining the primary agriculture sector’s capacity for economic growth” said CFA President, Mary Robinson.
“We are disappointed. Farmers from across all regions of Canada have clearly identified that a return to AgriStability coverage at 85% without a reference margin limit presents a simple, interim solution that can be implemented immediately while longer-term programming changes are considered. Additional review and consultations only further delay this much needed response, leaving farmers with the sense that their Governments are not grasping the critical issues at hand,” said Mary Robinson.
The CFA calls on Minister Bibeau and her Ministerial colleagues from across Canada to respond to farmers’ call for action through urgent and significant reforms to AgriStability that truly enhance the level of risk management support available to producers at this critical juncture.
To ensure Ministers have the capacity to make these reforms, CFA calls upon the Prime Minister and Premiers from across Canada to ensure agriculture Ministers have the flexibility needed to provide this critical assistance. CFA is ready to work hand in hand with FPT governments to support this work, while continue to explore the long-term reforms needed for the next policy framework.