Ottawa’s pledge last week of $82 billion in support to individuals and businesses were fleshed out this week by federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, who explained that Farm Credit Canada would receive an extra $5 billion in lending capacity.
“This will help producers and agri-food businesses manage cash-flow challenges,” Bibeau said. “This injection of credits will permit FCC to help farm and food business owners on a case-by-case basis with potential deferrals of the principal or interest portions of their loans, or access to an additional credit line.”
Ottawa will also give farmers an additional six months to repay cash advances received to cover lost income or marketing opportunities, a concession worth $173 million.
Parliament worked through the night on March 24 in the hope of passing the authorization needed for the support to start flowing.
Bibeau said most federal support measures are providing six months of breathing room right now. The supports will be delivered through government and private sector financial partners.
“The financial macroeconomic measures [are] in place for all these institutions to be more flexible to postpone mortgages for six months, for example, or to consolidate loans into one with better conditions, with a break of up to six months before they start repaying,” she said.
Bibeau was blunt about the government’s time frame for addressing the pandemic and its impacts.
“It’s too early to tell,” she told Country Life in BC.