The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, travelled to British Columbia to meet with B.C. farmers and hear how the recent extreme flooding and landslide events in the province have impacted farm operations, families and livelihoods.
Minister Bibeau toured flood-affected areas of B.C.’s Fraser Valley with British Columbia’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Lana Popham. Ministers Bibeau and Popham visited affected farms, including dairy and poultry farms and a winery, where they saw firsthand the widespread impacts of the extreme flooding and landslides on the agriculture sector.
Minister Bibeau also spoke with local farmers. She heard how these events devastated many BC farms and she also heard stories of courage and resilience and how farm families worked together in the face of adversity.
Governments continue to work together and engage with the sector, and Indigenous leaders to understand the full impact of the floods and landslides, in order to provide the necessary support to help recover and plan for the future.
The governments of Canada and B.C. continue to stand with farmers and communities who are feeling the impacts of extreme weather conditions. Last week, the federal and provincial governments held an industry roundtable with B.C. agriculture representatives to discuss both immediate and long-term support for the agriculture and agri-food industry, including a recent provincial request to launch a joint assessment under the AgriRecovery Framework.
Federal and provincial officials are working with the utmost urgency to complete the joint assessment and help producers with their extraordinary costs. Outreach is already underway to specific provincial commodity groups to determine these costs. Programming under AgriRecovery will roll out as soon as those assessments and the program design are completed.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the Premier of British Columbia, John Horgan, also recently announced a committee of federal and provincial ministers who will work together and with Indigenous leadership to guide immediate and ongoing support to British Columbia families, businesses, farmers and communities affected by the extreme weather events.
Minister Bibeau also highlighted the work of Canadian Armed Forces personnel, who have been on the ground since mid-November to help farmers rescue livestock, resupply food to isolated communities, help repair critical infrastructure and assist with supply chain movement.
“To see the devastating impacts of the floods and landslides in-person truly demonstrates how fragile the environment is, but also how resilient and courageous communities and people can be when faced with adversity. As we move forward over the next few weeks, our Government will continue to work closely with the province to provide support to help deal with the challenges they face today and better adapt and prepare for future climate change events.”
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“We are committed to working with our partners to support farmers as they recover from the recent extreme flooding in British Columbia. Together we will help the agriculture sector get back on its feet, and the federal government will remain committed until the job is done, while also working to help prepare for future climate change events.
- The Honourable Bill Blair, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
“The conversations we are having with farmers who have suffered losses due to the flooding are guiding our governments in developing a comprehensive AgriRecovery package that will help our agriculture producers return to production. I am looking forward to seeing that support being available soon, and want to thank B.C. farmers for the input they’re providing as well as for all the hard work, inspiration and resilience they have shown during this difficult time.”
- The Honourable Lana Popham, B.C. Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries
- During a crisis such as this, farmers facing the stress and uncertainty of providing for their families may suffer serious mental health impacts. The Government of Canada is committed to increasing the availability of high-quality mental health services for all individuals in Canada. Support services are available through various resources including:
- Farm Credit Canada’s Rooted in Strength initiative (fcc-fac.ca) , which raises awareness of mental health warning signs and available resources.
- The Do More Ag Foundation (domore.ag) , a not-for-profit organization focusing on mental health in agriculture across Canada.
- Wellness Together Canada (wellnesstogether.ca) , an online mental health and substance use resource portal that provides free, credible information and supports.
- Producers have access to a suite of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs (agriculture.canada.ca) to help them manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farm and are beyond their capacity to manage.
AgriRecovery is a federal-provincial-territorial disaster relief framework intended to work together with the core BRM programs to help agricultural producers recover from natural disasters and helps with the extraordinary costs associated with recovering from disaster events.