Statement from Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Bell Let’s Talk Day

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, released the following statement to mark Bell Let’s Talk Day:

“Producers across Canada work tirelessly so we and our families can have food on our tables. Despite the long hours, the labour shortages and the weather extremes, they take on the challenge of uncertainty each and every day.

Today we mark Bell Let’s Talk Day, an opportunity for us to speak openly about mental health and to work together to break the stigma. It’s a message that resonates more than ever, as the ongoing pandemic continues to put us all to the test. Sometimes, even the strongest find themselves at the end of their strength. In times like these, it takes strength to reach out for help. And sometimes, the simple act of listening can work wonders for someone under stress.

As Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Member of Parliament from a region with many rural communities, I am fully aware that even at the best of times, agriculture and food production can be demanding and draining. I’ve spoken with many producers who are facing challenges — from the pandemic, to child care, to labour shortages, to supply chain disruptions, to weather disasters, to trade barriers, to name just a few. On top of all this, farming and food production is a 365-day-a-year job. I also know that farmers and their families are used to taking a lot on their shoulders.

The Government of Canada is working to break the taboos around mental health, supporting a number of resources to reach out a helping hand to Canadians.

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, we’re partnering with provincial governments to ensure farmers have access to the tools they need to support their well-being. Looking ahead, mental health will continue to be an important component in the next agricultural policy framework, due to begin in April 2023.

So on Bell Let’s Talk Day, I encourage you all to take the time to reflect on mental health, and to continue that conversation year-round. Do a check-in with a friend, neighbour or family member. Use social media to help break the stigma. The first step is to reach out. And visit our web portal with mental health resources available to farmers

If you or someone you know needs help, please speak up. No one should suffer in silence. Let’s join the conversation!”

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