Canada to Offer Food Industry Aid

May 6, 2020
Canada will furnish $252 million to its food and agricultural sectors to help them cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

Canada will furnish C$252 million (US$178 million) to its food and agricultural sectors to help them cope with the coronavirus pandemic – an amount that was immediately criticized as too little.

The money breaks down into C$125 million (US$89 million) in disaster relief for beef and pork producers, C$77 million (US$55 million) for personal protective equipment for food processing employees, and C$50 million (US$35 million) to buy up surplus food products for distribution to food banks. In addition, the Canadian dairy commission will have its credit increased to C$200 million (US$142 million) to buy surplus milk and other dairy products.

The announcement of the aid by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on May 5 was met with criticism that it didn’t go far enough. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture had asked for C$2.6 billion (US$1.8 billion) last week.

“If your house is burning down and I offered you a bucket of water to put it out, you're probably going to have an issue,” CFA President Mary Robinson said in a television interview. Trudeau told reporters that the government was open to providing more money if needed.

The United States has committed $19 billion to a USDA-administered food relief package, with $16 billion going to farmers and ranchers and $3 billion to buying surplus food to distribute to food banks and other charities.

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