Feds, province kick in $20 million for farmers hit by fires

Ottawa and Victoria have committed $20 million to help agricultural producers impacted by this year’s devastating wildfires.

The 2017 Canada-British Columbia Wildfires Recovery Initiative will provide assistance with the extraordinary costs incurred to recover from the adverse effects of this year’s wildfires. Ottawa will contribute 60 per cent of the money, while Victoria will kick in the rest.

The assistance will cover extraordinary costs including:

  • Up to 70 per cent of extraordinary feed costs, including transportation to feed livestock through the recovery period;
  • Up to $80 per head to re-establish safe winter feeding facilities and general cleanup;
  • Up to 70 per cent of the veterinary, mustering, transportation and rental of temporary production facilities;
  • Up to 70 per cent of the market value of breeding animals for mortality;
  • Up to 70 per cent of extraordinary costs incurred by an industry organization and not paid by another agency or government department; and
  • Up to 70 per cent of the extraordinary costs required to return to normal crop production, including:
    • Critical infrastructure not covered by insurance.
    • Labour costs to repair private fences.
    • Reseeding/re-establishment of tame forage and other perennials damaged by fires.

A federal-provincial-territorial cost-shared set of business risk management programs is available to assist farmers in managing disaster events, including wildfires. These include AgriStability, AgriInvest and AgriInsurance.

The announcement came after a meeting of theAd Hoc Cabinet Committee on Federal Recovery Efforts for 2017 BC Wildfires, which consists of nine federal cabinet ministers, five provincial cabinet ministers and one parliamentary secretary, four Indigenous leaders and two Red Cross representatives.

Ottawa is also “committing to conduct a review of the response to the fires, in full partnership with the Government of British Columbia and B.C. First Nations, to improve the emergency management regime as well as identify preventive measures that can be undertaken ahead of future fires,” according to a press release.