Feds announce up to $1 million to support well-being in ag sector

OTTAWA – Federal agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay announced up to $1 million for mental health supports for producers on May 6.

The money will go to the Canadian Centre for Agricultural Wellbeing (CCAW), through the AgriCompetitiveness Program, which is an initiative under the larger Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

 The project will fund five activities aimed at supporting the mental health of Canadian farmers, states a government press release.

“This includes supports for mental health literacy education for agriculture educators across the country, the development of a mental health toolkit to support the sector in case of catastrophic events, and aims to help industry further develop capacity throughout the sector and facilitate the sharing and expansion of national farm mental health strategies and resources,” states the release.

The CCAW will also develop Canada’s first evidence-based agriculture literacy training program in collaboration with the Rural Physicians Society of Canada to deliver training to rural physicians who interact with Canadian farmers.

There are also plans to organize two national conferences enabling mental health information sharing with stakeholders from across the sector.

CCAW is a collaboration between researchers and mental health professionals seeking to expand access to counselling and develop new resources for people in agriculture.

“I know firsthand the challenges that come with life on the farm,” MacAulay said.

“With everything else our producers have to manage, it can be hard to check in on yourself and prioritize your mental health. 

“This new funding for the Canadian Centre for Agricultural Wellbeing will help more farmers gain access to the mental health support they need, with services and tools that are tailored to them.”