In collaboration with several Ontario commodity groups and farm organizations, OFA provides comments to the Honourable Marie Claude-Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada regarding drought conditions in Northwestern Ontario and Western Canada. Above seasonal temperatures through May, June and into July and a lack of rainfall have combined to create a situation that has reach a crisis level which was discussed at a roundtable earlier this week. These collective organizations are calling for a state of emergency to be declared, and all actions expedited to ensure Canadian farmers impacted by the drought are supported to ensure they don’t lose their livelihood, and that Canada’s food supply is not disrupted. We support the call from Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Lisa Thompson to initiate a formal AgriRecovery assessment to determine the scope and severity of the drought.
We ask that both the federal and provincial governments look at existing crop insurance programs and guidelines and work together to ensure flexibility and expediency in dealing with claims from our members experiencing drought conditions. The Livestock Tax Deferral would help alleviate some of the financial pressures being felt by farmers in the affected regions, but emergency relief is still required. This also provides an opportunity for the government to invest in water infrastructure for rural Canada, ensuring farmers have the resources they need both for irrigation and for providing water to livestock.