Province supports agriculture and trucking industries
Today, the Province of Prince Edward Island announced initial assistance for the Island’s agriculture and trucking industries as they deal with the impacts of COVID-19.
“The health and well-being of our communities depends on ready access to high-quality, healthy, safe food and we need to ensure that agriculture remains the pillar of our economy. Farming has helped build our province and we will stand with our farmers and farm workers to help tackle the challenges of today and plan for our future.”
- Agriculture and Land Minister Bloyce Thompson.
Minister Thompson announced a new $750,000 COVID-19 Strategic Fund for Agriculture under the Canada Agriculture Partnership to help commodities and small processors adapt to the pandemic. Eligible projects could include changing a workplace environment to accommodate physical distancing, doing more business on-line, or adjusting quickly to changing markets. The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $37 million investment in strategic initiatives for Prince Edward Island agriculture by the federal and provincial governments.
The agriculture minister also announced that the province is looking at ways to address some of the labour challenges facing the industry, including enhancing the Farm Team Student bursary. The bursary provides a financial incentive, on top of employee wages, to high school or post-secondary students who work in the agriculture industry. The province is adding a job matching service to the program so that job seekers can be paired quickly with farmers looking for workers this season.
To help support the health and well-being of Island farmers, Minister Thompson announced increased support for Farmers Talk. The program provides farmers, farm workers and their families with advice and counselling from individuals who understand the agriculture industry.
The Department of Agriculture and Land is currently reviewing all its programs to ensure they meet the most pressing needs of the agriculture industry. Minister Thompson reminded farmers to enroll in the suite of Business Risk Management programs offered through the province including Agri-Insurance, Agri-Invest and Agri-Stability.
Minister Thompson thanked local producers, Amalgamated Dairies Limited (ADL) and the PEI Potato Board for their partnership on the Island Producers Helping Islanders initiative. This weekend, any Island family in need can receive a care package. Drive-thru pick up will be set up on Saturday from 10am until 3pm or while supplies last at the following locations:
- Summerside: Credit Union Place parking lot (511 Notre Dame Street)
- Charlottetown: PEI Government Complex parking lot (Terry Fox Drive).
To support the health and safety of truck drivers and their loved ones, Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Steven Myers announced a partnership with the PEI Trucking Sector Council, Emergency Measures Organization and Rodd Royalty Inn & Suites to make rooms available for truck drivers so they can practice self-isolation between trips.
“The trucking industry and truck drivers are providing an important, essential service during these challenging and uncertain times, ensuring the uninterrupted movement of goods like groceries and other essential supplies to Islanders and Canadians alike,” said Minister Myers. “We know that they are concerned about their own health and safety and that of their loved ones while traveling across provincial and territorial borders and we want to help them as much as they are helping us.”
Truckers with a valid Class 1 license or equivalent from other jurisdictions are eligible for a significantly reduced fee of $20 per night billed directly to the driver’s company. Truck drivers can call 902-892-2253 for booking information, parking directions and availability.
Additionally, Minister Myers announced that a decision has been made, in conjunction with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, to delay the provincial recreational fishing season to June 1. Anyone caught fishing out of season will be charged.
The Province of Prince Edward Island also announced it would be placing an indefinite moratorium on burning during the pandemic.
Executive Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Office of the Premier