Safety group told federal funds must be matched

For the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association ‘growing forward’ means finding new funding partners to match government contributions.

“The government has put out the challenge to CASA that if farm safety is important, they’re willing to support it, but other groups also have to be at the table,” said executive director Marcel Hacault.

The association, which received most of its money from Growing Forward until this year, applied in March for funding under the agri-competitiveness stream of Growing Forward 2, but hasn’t been told how much it will receive.

“The one thing we do know for sure is their funding model has changed,” said Hacault. “They are looking for cost sharing.”

The move makes sense because “if safety is important, one of the good indicators for government is there are other industries helping support it,” he said.

But this change does present “a bit of a dilemma” for the Winnipeg-based organization, he added, noting the association receives considerable in-kind support from agribusinesses and others.

“We’re encouraging them to recognize some of that as cash, but I don’t think it meets their definition, ” he said.

“When we do receive funding, they are expecting agribusiness and safety supporters out there to match government funds. Or the other way around, government will match what CASA can garner.”

The funding change will be cut back to grants for developing farm safety resources, but won’t affect core programming, he said.

“We’re really going to focus on the Canada Farm Safe plan and develop some additional resources to make it as user friendly as possible,” he said. “That’s a major part of our work.”

It will also continue supporting Progressive Agricultural Safety Days, maintaining the injury surveillance program, and supporting its ongoing signature event, Canada Farm Safety Week, held every year in March.

Farm Credit Canada also continues to provide financial assistance for safety-training programs for farm managers and employees, he said.

The organization, led by a seven-person board of directors and a 32-person council, has about 100 individuals, organizations, governments and corporations as members.

About the author

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Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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