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Canada, Ontario commit $7 million to mental health in ag


November 30, 2021  by Bree Rody

An additional $7 million has been committed to the Canadian Agricultural Partnership by the federal and provincial governments. A new multi-year initiative will be launched to support the mental health of people in the agriculture sector.

Ontario farm families will have access to free counselling services through the Guardians Network and a new program modelled after the successful Farmer Wellness Program. The initiatives were developed in consultation with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and other sector experts.

“The farming community has demonstrated great strength and resilience throughout the pandemic, but mental health challenges often go unseen,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, in a statement. “These new agricultural mental health programs expand resource availability to help Ontario farmers and employees if they’re struggling with their mental health.”

“I very much understand and appreciate how stressful running a farm can be, working 365 days a year and dealing with unpredictable weather, commodity prices and increasing costs of production,” said Lisa Thompson, Ontario minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Add in the pandemic, and these pressures are having a real effect on the mental health of farmers and their families. That’s why our government is providing the necessary funding for these programs, and is committed to doing everything we can to help address these challenges and support mental health in our farming communities.”

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