By Jonathan Martin
The Government of Canada implemented the new Advance Payments Program (APP) regulations, Marie-Claude Bibeau, Ontario’s agriculture minister, said Monday.
The amendments, announced May 1, permanently increase all farmers’ loan limits from $400,000 to $1 million and increase the interest-free portion of loans on canola advances from $100,000 to $500,000 in the 2019 program year.
Producers will be able to apply for the new amounts as early as June 10 and new advances above $400,000 will be issued as of June 26, a government release says. Canola producers are already able to access the current advance limit of $400,000 interest-free.
Ag groups criticized the program’s sluggish rollout. Luc Berthold, shadow minister for agriculture and agri-food, said his office received complaints from canola farmers about the payments’ delays.
“For a canola producer, under the current circumstances, three weeks is like an eternity,” he wrote in a May 29 open letter to Bibeau. “Minister, it is irresponsible for you to make an announcement and not be able to follow through in a timely manner.”
Jan Dyer, who handles government relations for the Canadian Canola Growers Association, told Farms.com that she spoke with Bibeau during a conference call May 24. At that time, Bibeau told the callers that the APP expansion may not be available for “a few weeks or a couple of months.”
With the regulations now in place, government officials are working with the 36 program administrators to revise contracts, operating procedures and to oversee the implementation of system changes.
Producers can access application details and processing timelines through their APP administrator.