Support for farmers and agri-food businesses facing financial hardship due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As long as they meet the eligibility criteria, businesses in the agriculture industry can tap into existing government supports such as:
- Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
- Expanded Work Sharing Program
- Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
- Canada Emergency Rent Support (CERS)
On this page:
Government of Canada Programs
Latest Update: Due to the high volume of applications received, the second application intake period for the Local Food Infrastructure Fund has been put on hold until January 3rd, 2021.
The Local Food Infrastructure Fund aims to strengthen food support organizations and to help improve access to safe and nutritious food for Canadians at risk. Funding will support small and large community-led projects at facilities such as urban gardens, community kitchens, food banks and greenhouses.
Community or charitable organizations, Indigenous groups, and not-for-profit co-operatives can apply to the Local Food Infrastructure Fund.
On May 14th, the Government of Canada announced a $100-million Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund to support a wide range of agribusiness and agri-food sector enterprises. These include companies involved in primary production, agri-tech, manufacturing, packaging, and distribution. To qualify, companies need to demonstrate an impact from an unexpected business disruption, such as the loss of a key supplier, temporary loss of a facility, or permanent loss of critical staff or leadership.
To ensure producers, agribusinesses and food processors can remain focused on business-critical functions rather than worrying about how to access funds to keep operating through this challenging period, effective immediately, FCC has put in place:
- a deferral of principal and interest payments up to six months for existing loans; or
- a deferral of principal payments up to 12 months
- access to an additional credit line up to $500,000, secured by general security agreements or universal movable hypothec (Québec only)
Farmers, fish harvesters, and all food production and processing employers will receive $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker to ensure that mandatory 14-day isolation period requirements are fully met. Applications for the 2020 program year will be accepted until 6:00 p.m. EST December 31st, 2020, or until funding has been fully committed or until otherwise announced by the program. The 2021 program year will begin on January 1st, 2021.
Get details on eligibility and how to apply at Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program.
BC Government Programs
The Agritech Grant Program provides one-time funding to B.C.-based agritech or technology companies, agriculture producers or agrifood companies. The funding supports the increase of domestic food production and stimulates the development and testing of technologies.
Grants of up to $500,000 are available to B.C. based companies. Applications are open until February 12th, 2021.
Eligible activities can include:
- Business management
- Prototype, pilot or demonstration of new technology
- Commercialization of new technology, products or services
- Research and industry partnership
- Investment attraction
Agriculture, seafood, and food processing businesses in B.C. that have had their revenues decrease by at least 30% as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible for up to $5,000 in business planning services and coaching from a qualified business consultant for individuals, and up to $20,000 for groups. The aim is to develop an immediate and long-term recovery plan.
Support for Animal Care Facilities
Funding is available for animal hygiene, habitat upkeep, veterinarian care, limited transportation,and repairs to equipment required to ensure the welfare of the animals in care. Eligible businesses include B.C. shelters, animal refuges, aquariums, and rehabilitation centres that lack the revenue to ensure animals in their care will not be in distress.
To find out about funding eligibility, email: BRMB.General.Inquiries@gov.bc.ca.
The B.C. Food Hub Network aims to foster growth and innovation in the processing sector through improved industry access to facilities, equipment, technology, technical services, and business supports. The B.C. Food Hub Network will offer:
- Infrastructure and equipment
- Mentorship and training support
- Product development and testing services
- Networking and information sharing
Learn more about the B.C. Food Hub Network.
The B.C. Domestic Temporary Farm Workers COVID-19 PPE Supports Program is a cost-shared initiative that supports farmers and growers housing Domestic Temporary Farm Workers (DTFW) on-farm in temporary structures such as trailers, campers and tents.
The program will reimburse up to 70% of costs for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to a maximum of $1,000 per organization within eligible guidelines.
Learn more about the B.C. Domestic Temporary Farm Workers COVID-19 PPE Supports Program.
Other Agriculture Supports
The BC Agriculture Council COVID-19 resource list collects dedicated resources for the agricultural sector. Topics include:
- Info for Employers of Seasonal Workers
- Federal Requirements for employers of Temporary Foreign Workers
With resources available in multiple languages, AgSafe BC have produced a comprehensive listing of employer protocols, procedures and safety tips for BC’s agricultural sector.
Focusing on the human resources aspect, CAHRC’s dedicated COVID webpage contains employee management tips, frequently asked questions and information on creating safety protocols.
WorkSafeBC is working with workers, employers, and industry associations to ensure agricultural workplaces remain healthy and safe during the COVID-19 outbreak and they continue to be able to produce the foods we need.
For more information from WorkSafeBC, please see:
- Preventing exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace: a guide that employers may use to assess the risks and controls in their workplace.
- COVID-19 health and safety information: general information for all employers and workers about staying safe at work
- Frequently asked questions: answers to questions from British Columbian workers and employers on how to maintain a healthy and safe workplace