Today, the MNA representing Nelligan and Liberal Critic for Small and Medium Enterprises, Mr. Monsef Derraji, tabled a bill at the National Assembly to enhance mental health support for entrepreneurs and farmers.
Over the course of the past few years, studies have shown that many entrepreneurs and farmers are depressed, affected by mental health issues and in psychological distress. It is time for us to own up to our responsibilities, acknowledge the problem and deploy all necessary means to break their isolation and, most importantly, offer them the support that they need.
That is why we would like the CAQ government to demonstrate openness so that we can study the bill. Among others, it suggests establishing a dedicated budget within the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which would be used to promote farmers’ well-being. It also introduces the creation of an advisory committee in each of Quebec’s administrative regions. The committees’ mandate would be to carry out studies and conduct research on mental health among entrepreneurs and farmers as well as solicit and receive observations and suggestions.
The COVID-19 crisis has drastically accentuated distress among our entrepreneurs and farmers. Even before the pandemic, one out of two Canadian entrepreneurs had stated that mental health issues hindered their ability to work. Given that the main source of anxiety was finances for two thirds of them, one has to believe that the Covid-19 crisis has only exacerbated their difficulties. It is time for us to acknowledge the problem, for it to stop being a taboo issue and for us to finally provide our entrepreneurs and farmers with concrete help when they are experiencing psychological distress. That is exactly why I tabled this bill at the National Assembly today.
–Mr. Monsef Derraji, MNA representing Nelligan and Liberal Critic for Small and Medium Enterprises