Ottawa, Ontario – COVID-19 has magnified systemic issues and longstanding inequalities, and the Government of Canada is working hard to provide equal opportunities for all Canadians.
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, held a virtual roundtable discussion with women entrepreneurs from across Canada’s agricultural food chain, focussing on the opportunities and challenges that exist for them in the agriculture and agri-food sector.
During the roundtable, Minister Bibeau announced that Farm Credit Canada’s Women Entrepreneur Program has already helped 1,391 women with loans under this program, totalling more than $994.5 million. This is already nearly double the $500-million amount initially announced in March of 2019 for this three-year program, demonstrating the entrepreneurial spirit of hundreds of women in Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector.
This program is part of the federal Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a $5-billion investment. In agriculture, there are over 75,000 female farm operators, representing some 28.7% of all farm operators in Canada – a number which continues to modestly increase. The Women Entrepreneurship Program is expected to increase this proportion.
During the roundtable, Minister Bibeau, in her capacity as the first-ever female Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, highlighted her personal commitment towards greater inclusion of women in the agriculture and agri-food sector. She stressed the need to overcome barriers to equality that research shows include: work-life balance, skills training, networking and mentorship, access to information management, and financial barriers.Source : Government of Canada