Mr. Speaker, the reply is as follows:
(a) The Canadian agricultural income stabilization, CAIS, program replaced both the Canadian farm income payment, CFIP, and the net income stabilization account, NISA, program. Whereas, under the NISA program, governments deposited their share of program payments into producer accounts, the CAIS program makes the government share of payments directly to producers. Currently, the only deposit requirement is by producers in order to secure coverage under the CAIS program.
In July, federal-provincial-territorial ministers agreed to replace the producer deposit mechanism under CAIS with a fee-based structure in order to respond to producer concerns regarding the affordability of the program and to free up capital which was previously held in CAIS accounts. In the meantime, the deadline for producer deposits for the 2003, 2004 and 2005 program years has been extended until March 31, 2006 and producers have been allowed to withdraw their previously deposited funds. There is currently less than $340 million remaining in producers’ CAIS accounts, down from nearly $650 million in March of this year.
In relation to government funding under CAIS, I would like to point out that CAIS is a needs-based program. This means there is no annual spending cap on the program in order to allow CAIS to better respond to producer-demand. As a business risk management, BRM, program under the current agricultural policy framework, APF, the CAIS program, together with production insurance and the spring and fall cash advance programs, is funded from a committed $5.5 billion in federal funding over the five-year life of the program (2003-04 to 2007-08 fiscal years), which equates to approximately $1.1 billion per year. Under the 60:40 federal-provincial cost-sharing ratio, the provinces have committed to adding another $700 million per year to this federal funding.
Since the inception of CAIS for the 2003 program year, governments have paid a total of $2.3 billion ($1.38 billion federal and $0.92 billion provincial shares) to producers under the program.
(b) This has resulted in producers receiving more than $2.3 billion in income stabilization and disaster assistance payments through the CAIS Program to date, which include final payments for 2003, interim (advance) payments and final payments for 2004 and interim payments for 2005. As 2003 CAIS payments are winding down and payments for the 2004 program year are now being paid, as well as interim payments for the 2005 program year, this number will continue to increase.
(c) In response to your request for CAIS payment number for your riding, I must say that the administrative systems for the CAIS program do not allow me to provide that type of a breakdown. However, I would like to report that more than $200 million has gone out to producers in Manitoba since CAIS was implemented.