(CASS) program provides farmers and their spouses with opportunities to access specialized training to help them meet the demands of an increasingly complex business environment. The training is intended to help them improve their farm profitability and net family income. CASS gives farmers and their spouses an opportunity to examine their goals and develop a learning plan to achieve them. It provides farmers with financial assistance to take training that will help them improve their current farm practices, take advantage of new business opportunities in the industry, or obtain off farm employment. It may include formal training, such as college courses, or more informal training, such as workshops and seminars.
CASS provides qualified applicants with no-cost access to a professional advisor who will meet with you and focus on understanding your existing skills, plans and goals, and provide you with a clear path on how to achieve them.
An assessment and an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) will be developed for all eligible participants. Training course tuition and related costs may be covered for both farmers and their spouses. Each participant will be reimbursed as follows:
• Family income• less than $35,000 - eligible for benefits up to $16,000;
• Family income• $35,001 to $40,000 - eligible for benefits up to $12,000;
• Family income• $40,001 to $45,000 - eligible for benefits up to $8,000.
•Net family income based on a three-year average for established farmers or based on the previous year’s income for beginning farmers.
Eligible costs include:
• Support for tuition of community college programs, excluding university degree programs. Eligible costs could include costs of taking mechanics courses, welding, accrual accounting courses, general educational development and academic upgrading, and workshop/field day fees;
• support for related costs such as dependant care, replacement labour, travel costs and other costs while on travel status; and
• costs associated with skills and learning activities such as supplies and textbooks.
Eligibility: Established producers and their spouses are eligible to apply for the CASS program if they are actively engaged as a sole proprietor or a member/shareholder of a farm corporation, partnership, cooperative or other farm entity with gross farm sales of at least $10,000 per year. Farm families with a net family income of $45,000 or less are eligible to apply for the CASS program. Beginning farmers will receive an ILP, regardless of their net family income. A beginning farmer is someone who plans to establish a farm, or who already owns or has operated a farm for less than six years, and can demonstrate the operation will generate annual gross farm sales of $10,000 or more. Eligible applicants must also have been out of secondary school for at least two years and not receiving Employment Insurance benefits for training purposes.
You can get more information about the program visiting the website at www.ontario.ca/cass or by calling the CON•NECT CASS Centre at 1-877-830-0200.