Cape Breton-Richmond MLA Alana Paon today received an assurance from the Minister of Agriculture that incomplete applications for compensation through the Frost Loss Program will be processed.
Information obtained by the PC Caucus through a FOIPOP request showed that Liberal Minister Keith Colwell began being briefed about financial losses to farmers due to frost as early as June 6, 2018. But, it wasn’t until February 25, 2019, that the Department of Agriculture announced the Frost Loss Program. The deadline for the complex application to be submitted was Friday.
“I don’t understand why it took the Minister eight months to respond to the needs of the agriculture sector when he knew about the losses they suffered last year,” Paon said. “After taking eight months, he gave farmers only three weeks to gather the information needed for the application. It is little wonder some farmers submitted incomplete applications, while others likely did not have enough time to apply at all.”
Under questioning from Paon, the Minister said any application, whether complete or incomplete, would be considered as long as it was received before the deadline.
“This is good news for those who submitted applications,” Paon said. “But, it’s cold comfort for farmers who did not know about the condensed deadline or could not submit an application in such a short time.”
When told that some farmers only recently found out about the short window for applications, the Minister replied that they “either didn’t check their emails or didn’t watch what’s going on.”