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Press release
20 July 2020

Mental Health Among Farmers and Entrepreneurs : The Legault Government Needs to do More

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The MNA for Nelligan and Liberal Critic for Small and Medium Enterprises, Mr. Monsef Derraji, the MNA representing Vimont and Liberal Critic for Agriculture, Mr. Jean Rousselle, as well as the MNA representing D’Arcy-McGee and Liberal Critic for Mental Health, Mr. David Birnbaum, thank the government for having responded favourably to one of the Official Opposition’s proposals and moving forward on farmers’ mental health. However, this aid isn’t sufficient; entrepreneurs were forgotten.

Over the past years, studies have demonstrated that mental health programs and psychological distress are not limited to farmers. The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the issue, but this problem has existed for a very long time. We must now employ all the means necessary to break their isolation and provide them with the support they need. With this in mind, the Official Opposition reiterates the importance of calling bill 597, which was tabled by Mr. Derraji in June, for study.

Recall that among others the bill proposes the creation of a dedicated fund within the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which would be used to implement measures to promote farmers’ well-being. It also presents the creation of an advisory committee in each of Quebec’s administrative regions. The committee’s mandate would be to conduct research and studies on farmers’ and entrepreneurs’ mental health, as well as solicit and receive observations and suggestions.

To consult the bill:

The announcement made by Minister Lamontagne today is a step in the right direction in terms of acknowledging the issue. However, we must ensure the sustainability of sufficient funding for this assistance so that we can seriously attack these issues and provide farmers with resources when they are experiencing situations of psychological distress.

–Mr. Jean Rousselle, MNA representing Vimont and Liberal Agriculture Critic

This assistance needs to be offered to all entrepreneurs. Long before the pandemic, one out of every two Canadian entrepreneurs said they had experienced mental health problems that hampered their ability to do their job. In order to ensure Quebec’c recovery following the COVID-19 crisis, it is imperative that our entrepreneurs are in good mental health.

–Mr. Monsef Derraji, MNA representing Nelligan and Liberal Critic for Small and Medium Enterprises

We have made a number of proposals for mental health since the beginning of the pandemic. The period we are currently experiencing with the COVID-19 crisis has amplified problems that were already quite worrisome. We have an obligation to be a proactive society in the fight and prevention of psychological distress.

–Mr. David Birnbaum, MNA representing D’Arcy-McGee and Liberal Critic for Mental Health