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

Just Posted

Leafs lose marathon season opener

Nelson fell 3-2 to Fernie in double overtime

Latest round of Columbia River Treaty talks wrap up in Cranbrook

Federal, provincial, U.S. and Indigenous representatives recently met for eight round of discussions

CHECK THIS OUT: Libraries as safe spaces for the homeless

Anne DeGrace writes about an upcoming movie and talk focused on libraries and homelessness

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

PLACE NAMES: Kaslo and Sandon neighbourhoods

Narrow valley saw Sandon’s main street over a creek

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Newcomer Ferland lines up with sniper Pettersson as Vancouver Canucks camp opens

Ferland provides more depth and a scoring threat up front, Pettersson says

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: UBC professor

Professor Paul Evans says he served on Cameron Ortis’s doctoral dissertation committee

Most Read