I appreciate the opportunity to join you today to discuss our government's ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it impacts our agriculture and agri-food sectors.
The COVID-19 crisis has Canadians realizing how important it is to have the wide range of food that our farmers, ranchers, processors and agribusinesses provide. They prove their resilience, innovation and adaptability in the face of these extraordinary circumstances. However, we know there are big challenges and we are taking action.
As you know, last Tuesday the Prime Minister announced a series of measures to help Canadian farmers and food processors continue their vital work. This amounted to over $252 million, as well as $200 million in added buying capacity for the Canadian Dairy Commission. We also announced important program changes, such as increasing the AgriStability advance payments to 75%, which the Government of Alberta estimated would represent a payment of $20 per head for pork producers.
The financial measures announced last week build upon a number of other measures we have taken to support our farmers, ranchers, food processors and the entire value chain. We've also put in place measures to help safely welcome temporary foreign workers, up to $50 million, and $20 million towards the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. We deferred $173 million in advance payments program loans for cattle, grains and flowers, and added $5 billion in lending capacity to Farm Credit Canada, which has already resulted in over $4 billion in deferred loans to thousands of producers.
Of course, in Canada, we already have all the risk management programs. Every year, these programs deliver about $1.6 billion to help producers who are facing financial pressures, as is the case right now. That number is expected to be even greater this year.
As you know, these programs are cost-shared with the provinces and territories. We know that the risk management programs need improvement. I've been actively working on the programs with my provincial and territorial counterparts. However, the programs are already available and must be used on a priority basis.
We'll keep improving our programs or creating new ones, depending on the specific needs of each sector of the industry, the gaps and the extra needs caused by COVID-19.
I'd like to now clarify some of the measures that we've taken so far.
To encourage producers to enroll in AgriStability, we've extended the application deadline to July 3. Where the provinces have enacted the changes, producers can now access 75% of their expected benefit, up from 50%.
To help them, we've set up an online calculator for simulation purposes. It's not necessary to have the final financial results for 2019, since a simple estimate is enough to obtain the advance payment.
There's also the AgriInvest program. This program is a savings account to manage decreased revenues. Producers can obtain an annual $10,000 subsidy if they also contribute $10,000 to their AgriInvest account.
Currently, the AgriInvest accounts of Canadian producers contain approximately $2.3 billion in accumulated funds.
The Prime Minister also announced two new federal investments under the AgriRecovery program. First, up to $50 million will serve as a set-aside program to help cattle producers cover the extra costs of keeping animals on the farms while they wait longer to be processed.
I was very happy to see the Province of Alberta announce $17 million towards our federal cattle set-aside initiative, joining their 40% contribution to this cost-shared program, and another $50 million to help pork producers cover costs of managing their surplus animals due to the temporary closure of food processing plants.
These changes to the AgriRecovery program represent real leadership from the federal government on our business risk management programs. This has been a very urgent request from industry. We have listened and delivered on significant changes on how the AgriRecovery framework operates.
Recognizing this unprecedented crisis, the federal government will make available its 60% contribution in all provinces or territories, whether they contribute their share or not. Also on AgriRecovery, we are boosting the coverage by the federal government of eligible expenses from 70% to 90%.
On AgriInsurance, we are asking the provinces and territories to include labour shortages as eligible risks under the program. This would help to ensure income lost by producers because of an insufficient workforce.
These measures add to the significant work we have been doing to address labour shortages. For example, through the incredibly hard work of the government, in collaboration with leading industry groups, such as F.A.R.M.S. and FERME, we were able to welcome over 11,200 workers in April. That is 86% of the number of workers we were expecting in April 2019.
Also, last week the Prime Minister announced $3 billion for wage top-ups for low-income workers in essential services, such as agriculture. While Quebec has already announced its wage top-up plan, we look forward to seeing plans from other provinces soon.
Our food processors are vital to our food supply and our economy. Across Canada, food processing plants have slowed down production or temporarily closed as a result of the impact of COVID-19.
We understand the health concerns of workers in these plants. Workers need to feel safe and be safe when they go to work. That's why we are also investing $77.5 million in support of food processing, to implement measures to protect the safety of their workers while maintaining production.
This funding will ensure we can expand our capacity for Canadian-made products, by adapting and reopening plants that have closed or are operating under capacity. This funding is additional to the $62.5 million we announced to help fish and seafood processors.
We are also working to ensure the safety of workers by removing all tariffs on the importation of personal protective equipment.
We're also helping to address the surplus of food across Canada. Farmers, such as potato producers, are facing higher surpluses as a result of the closure of restaurants and establishments in the hospitality industry. We'll invest $50 million in a surplus food purchase fund to distribute the food to organizations such as food banks, which serve the most vulnerable in our communities and in remote and northern regions.
To help manage the surplus of dairy products, we're proposing to increase the borrowing capacity of the Canadian Dairy Commission, or CDC, from $200 million to $500 million. This additional support will enable the CDC to increase its supplies of dairy products, such as butter and cheese. This measure directly addresses the request of the dairy industry.
Our government will work with you and all our parliamentary colleagues to implement the legislative changes required for this vital measure.
In conclusion, Mr. Chair, I want to thank all the committee members for their dedication to the sector. The women and men who work on farms, in processing plants and throughout the food production chain are providing an essential service during this extremely stressful time. We're grateful to them.
I'm determined to ensure that the sector is well-positioned to continue to serve Canadians and to keep feeding the world. As we begin to restart the economy, we'll build on these measures to help Canada's agriculture and food industry lead our country on the road to recovery and success.
As the Prime Minister said, we've been and we'll continue to be there for our agriculture and agrifood industry every step of the way.