Government of Canada

Government of Canada

November 07, 2005 10:25 ET

Government of Canada: New Training Program Announced for Canadian Farm Producers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 7, 2005) - A program to help farm producers and their spouses gain access to training is among the first new services available in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Ontario, British Columbia and the Yukon through the newly-launched Service Canada.

The Canadian Agricultural Skills Service (CASS) was announced today by Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Andy Mitchell and Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal, Belinda Stronach.

"Farming is a complex business. Producers need specialized knowledge and skills, just as experts in other sectors do, in order to make informed decisions and remain profitable," said Minister Mitchell. "The CASS program provides access to training that can help producers gain this knowledge and further develop these important skills."

"I am proud that Service Canada will be working with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to better serve the needs of the agricultural community across Canada," said Minister Stronach. "This is the essence of our service commitment to Canadians regardless of where they live: ensuring people have access to the services and benefits they need, when they need them."

Service Canada, the federal government's new integrated service delivery organization, will be delivering CASS in the five provinces and one territory on behalf of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. CASS is available in Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, delivered by the provincial governments or other delivery agents.

Nationally, CASS is providing $55.47 million in training funds over the next three years -- $13.48 million through this announcement alone -- to help Canadian farm families including families just starting out in farming, improve their income options in the face of an increasingly complex business environment. Through the program, participants have access to a career development expert to develop an individual learning plan. They may also receive financial assistance to cover the costs of course fees and training material.

Training for farmers and their spouses through CASS can be aimed at improving current farm practices, taking advantage of new business opportunities in the industry, or obtaining off-farm employment. It may include formal training, such as college courses, or more informal training, such as workshops or seminars.

Service Canada integrates services from a number of federal departments to form an easy-to-access service delivery network. These services touch all aspects of the lives of Canadians: from parental and pension benefits, to matching employers with job seekers, applying for a passport and obtaining a Social Insurance Number. Today, this network brings together 320 points of service in communities throughout Canada; a national 1 800 O-Canada (1 800 622-6232) telephone service providing Canadians with information about all federal government services; and a range of on-line services at

The CASS program will be available until March 31, 2008. More information about CASS and other AAFC Renewal programs can be found at Anyone interested in applying can visit their local Service Canada office, call 1-800 O Canada (1 800 622-6232) or click on



Farming is more than just food production. It is a sophisticated and demanding business for farmers across the country. Through the Canadian Agricultural Skills Service (CASS), the federal and provincial/territorial governments are working together to provide farmers and their spouses with opportunities to access specialized training to help them meet the demands of an increasingly complex business environment. The training is intended to help them improve their farm profitability and their net family income, and increase their income choices.

CASS is part of the Renewal Pillar of the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF). The APF provides the foundation for strengthening the agriculture and agri-food sector over the long term, and aims to provide producers with the tools they need to move beyond crisis management. Renewal programs, like CASS, help producers become more competitive and profitable in a vibrant but challenging industry.

CASS provides an opportunity for farmers and their spouses to examine their goals and develop a learning plan to help them achieve them. It provides them with financial assistance to take training that will help them improve their current farm practices, take advantage of new business opportunities in the industry, or to obtain other off-farm employment.

CASS will be delivered by Service Canada in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, British Columbia and the Yukon. The program is being delivered by the provincial governments or other delivery agents in Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

Beginning and established farmers can apply for CASS. The program is generally targeted at farm families with annual gross farm sales of at least $10,000 and annual net family incomes of no more than $45,000. Beginning farmers with annual net family incomes of more than $45,000 are also encouraged to apply since some CASS services are available to them as well.

CASS will be available until 2008. To find out more about eligibility requirements or how to apply, potential applicants should visit or call 1-800 O-Canada (1 800 622-6232).

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Media Relations
    (613) 759-7972
    Service Canada
    Media Relations Office
    (819) 994-5559
    Minister Mitchell's Office
    Matt Tolley
    (613) 759-1059
    Office of Minister Belinda Stronach
    Normand Bergeron
    (819) 994-2482