Evidence of meeting #111 for Agriculture and Agri-Food in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was farmers.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Stewart Skinner  Chief Farming Officer, Imani Farms, As an Individual
Maria Labrecque Duchesneau  Founder, Au coeur des familles agricoles, As an Individual
Patrick Smith  National Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Mental Health Association
Paul Glenn  Past Chair, Canadian Young Farmers' Forum
Ginette Lafleur  PhD Candidate, Community Psychology, Université du Québec à Montréal, Centre for Research and Intervention on Suicide, Ethical Issues and End-of-Life Practices
Lucie Pelchat  Training Advisor, Association québécoise de prévention du suicide, Centre for Research and Intervention on Suicide, Ethical Issues and End-of-Life Practices
Bev Shipley  Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, CPC

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Pat Finnigan

Let us move on.

Your time is up, Mr. Berthold.

Mr. Longfield, I don't know if we'll have six minutes, but we'll be fine.

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the witnesses for your patience.

Mr. Glenn, it's great to have you back. Thanks for what you've done for us on our studies on the ag policy framework, on our debt review, and now on mental health.

I'm looking at the organizations. I visited the Grain Farmers of Ontario. They have a lot of young farmers involved. I've met with the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. Again, families are involved. In terms of the support through these organizations, do you see that as something that's growing or is it at risk? Do the young farmers who are working on the farm and off the farm who you mentioned in previous studies still have time for these types of organizations?

October 18th, 2018 / 10:35 a.m.

Past Chair, Canadian Young Farmers' Forum

Paul Glenn

I think a lot of agricultural organizations are stressed in their own way to find producers to sit on them who have time to do it, especially young farmers. As I said before, for young families starting operations, it's very hard to accommodate some of these other organizations, so even those organizations have their own succession planning, basically to make sure that those organizations continue to operate, but young farmers are stressed for time.

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Yes.

In Wellington County, just around Guelph, I was surprised to see that opioids and alcohol are prevalent in the rural communities. We think of that as an urban problem. Is that also something that young farmers are addressing or concerned with, or is there a policy around that we can be thinking about?

10:35 a.m.

Past Chair, Canadian Young Farmers' Forum

Paul Glenn

I don't think it's been addressed by our young farmers, but if we can educate people to understand that people use drugs and alcohol because of what they're feeling or the lack of feeling.... They're looking for something to feel something, so it's more of an understanding that there's not a negative connotation for someone who's using drugs or alcohol to feel. That person needs help and is reaching out for help. He's trying to feel better.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

It's self-medication sometimes.

10:40 a.m.

Past Chair, Canadian Young Farmers' Forum

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

When we talked about our ag policy framework, we were looking at programs. You gave us some good suggestions on that, and some of those found their way into our ag policy. A previous witness today, a hog farmer from Ontario, talked about farmer assistance around mental health as something we could consider in a future policy framework. I thought it was an interesting idea.

10:40 a.m.

Past Chair, Canadian Young Farmers' Forum

Paul Glenn

Absolutely. Any way we can educate people on mental health and release the stigma I think would be a great option.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Thank you.

Ms. Lafleur, we were looking at research about the impact of climate change on mental health. There were 28 specialists last week who met, and The Lancet, a medical journal, listed climate change as among the greatest threats to mental health globally. In your research, have you done any work around mental health affecting farmers as it relates to climate change?

10:40 a.m.

PhD Candidate, Community Psychology, Université du Québec à Montréal, Centre for Research and Intervention on Suicide, Ethical Issues and End-of-Life Practices

Ginette Lafleur

It is not one of the factors I identified. In fact, like all the changes that happen whether we like it or not, it can require additional adjustment and can generate stress. Personally, I cannot say that it has particularly jumped out in my research.

If I can answer the question that was asked earlier about alcohol and drugs, I would have more things to say.

According to what I have been able to see in my research and to read about the situation internationally, the farming population at this time is less affected by alcohol and drugs than the rest of the population. However, that may change because we are beginning to see the appearance of drugs like cocaine that allow people to work longer and do more. We are going to have to stay alert. That said, up until now, that problem is less prevalent than elsewhere.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Okay, that's interesting. Thank you. That's different from what I've seen. That's why we have these conversations.

When we're looking at the research you are doing and tying into—Guelph has done some research in other parts of Canada. Is there a mental health research network within Canada that you participate in, or is that something...?

10:40 a.m.

PhD Candidate, Community Psychology, Université du Québec à Montréal, Centre for Research and Intervention on Suicide, Ethical Issues and End-of-Life Practices

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

No. It's all disjointed. When it comes to provincial jurisdictions, as a federal government, it's very hard to see how we can convene these types of discussions. Maybe it would be through the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

10:40 a.m.

PhD Candidate, Community Psychology, Université du Québec à Montréal, Centre for Research and Intervention on Suicide, Ethical Issues and End-of-Life Practices

Ginette Lafleur

Yes, you are right.

Personally, I have more connections in Europe than in Canada. That is an issue for me.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

For our report, is that a recommendation I'm hearing?

Very good. Thank you, Mr. Chair, for giving me time.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Pat Finnigan

Thank you, Mr. Longfield.

My thanks to our guests. Unfortunately, that is all the time we have.

Ms. Pelchat and Ms. Lafleur, your presentations were very interesting.

Mr. Glenn, thanks for being here with us today. Your testimony will certainly be part of our report.

The meeting is adjourned.