The Canadian government has announced it is to provide around C$680m (US$511m) in financial assistance to the country’s beef producers to help them recover from losses caused by a case of BSE in Canada last year.

Prime Minister Paul Martin said a $680m Transitional Industry Support Program would be made available to help Canadian beef producers, while a further $300m would go to a wide range of producers.

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) welcomed the decision, but said it was still essential that the beef industry regained its export markets.
“The Federal Government has clearly recognised the depth that this crisis has reached in rural communities across Canada. While the assistance is being directed to beef cattle producers, it will also benefit the rural communities in which those beef producers work and live,” said Neil Jahnke, president of the CCA.

“The CCA has appreciated all the efforts of the Federal Minister of Agriculture and the Federal Government to get this situation resolved. While the financial assistance announced today will help keep our industry afloat, we know that ultimately we must regain access to our export markets, particularly the US market for live cattle, in order for our industry to recover,” he added.