More federal help urged for Canadian farmers’ mental health

All-party committee calls for Ottawa to address potential impacts of new policies their well-being

A farm tractor and baler sit in a hay field on a misty morning near Cremona, Alta. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)

Lawmakers are calling on the federal government to better support Canadian farmers who they say are more at risk of mental-health issues like stress, depression and suicidal thoughts than other segments of the population.

In a new report Tuesday, members of an all-party parliamentary committee made 10 recommendations — including ensuring the government considers and addresses any potential impacts from new policies on the well-being of agricultural producers.

The MPs also recommended the public-awareness campaigns to deal with an increasing number of incidents of intimidation, cyberbullying and threats faced by farmers from people who take issue with their occupations and practices.

The report says farmers struggle with many challenges — such as market volatility, debt, long work days, unpredictable weather and loneliness.

Committee chair and New Brunswick Liberal MP Pat Finnigan says the well-being of farmers is critical because the agriculture sector feeds Canadians and helps drive the entire economy.

Alberta Conservative MP Earl Dreeshen says the incidence of mental-health problems within the farming sector is reaching crisis proportions.

Dreeshen says agriculture producers and their families are increasingly experiencing “high levels of stress, depression and even suicidal thoughts — the causes are many and varied.”

READ MORE: Animal rights group invades B.C. pig farm

He added that farmers sometimes face hardship from government policies, such as the carbon tax and concessions made in recent trade agreements.

The report is based on testimony from farmers, mental-health experts and government officials.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Still no confirmed active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer, central zone

There are 15 new confirmed cases were in Alberta, the province said Thursday

Sylvan Lake baseball stadium on track for 2021 season

The Sylvan Lake Gulls announced plans for the stadium and the team continue to move ahead as planned

Alberta discussing early Stage 2 economic relaunch

Nineteen new COVID-19 cases confirmed by government Wednesday

Bentley School hosting digital grad to recognize accomplishments

School hoping to host traditional formal in the fall

Sylvan Lake-based Family Resource Network servicing Eckville, Benalto

Due to COVID-19 supports are being delivered through phone calls, texts, online platforms and emails

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Sylvan Lake News is firmly committed to seeing you through the changes ahead, but we need your help

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Sylvan Lake News is firmly committed to seeing you through the changes ahead, but we need your help

Alberta Opposition calls on government to consult on provincial parks

Alberta Opposition calls on government to consult on provincial parks

Alberta overhauls real estate regulator in wake of prior dysfunctional board

Alberta overhauls real estate regulator in wake of prior dysfunctional board

Alberta registrar reverses rejection, man gets to have FREE AB licence plate

Alberta registrar reverses rejection, man gets to have FREE AB licence plate

Alberta imposing steep penalties but no charges on first-time impaired drivers

Alberta imposing steep penalties but no charges on first-time impaired drivers

No separate lockup for man beaten after arrest with police vehicle: Nunavut RCMP

No separate lockup for man beaten after arrest with police vehicle: Nunavut RCMP

Limit gun capacity to five bullets, victims group urges Trudeau government

Limit gun capacity to five bullets, victims group urges Trudeau government

RCMP say gunman behind mass killing in Nova Scotia was ‘injustice collector’

RCMP say gunman behind mass killing in Nova Scotia was ‘injustice collector’

Most Read