Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau held a virtual roundtable Friday with women entrepreneurs from across Canada that are involved in agriculture and agri-food.
Bibeau, who is the first-ever female to serve as Canada's Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, said it was a great discussion that brought up a number of opportunities and challenges that exist for women in the sector.
"For example, the suggestion that childcare should be recognized a farming expense in some of our federal programs," she explained, "or that when they hire temporary foreign workers. for example. they could also include in their crew people that would be in charge of taking care of the kids."
The minister noted women remain under-represented in the sector and continue to face significant barriers, which she said is why the Federal government is taking steps to promote and empower women entrepreneurs in agriculture.
“Women play a vital role in growing the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector. Over the past several decades, the proportion of female farm operators has continued to increase. While this progress is positive, women remain underrepresented in the sector and continue to face significant barriers. That is why the Government is taking steps to promote and empower women entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector through various initiatives, and through conversations like those held during today’s roundtable to better understand and help address the obstacles they face. I am confident that together we can build on the progress made and strengthen and diversify our entire agricultural sector," she added in a statement.
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.Click here to see more...