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Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, on March 23, 2020.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says Canadians could see higher prices and less variety of food on store shelves this year.

Bibeau says she’s confident the country has enough food but acknowledges that COVID-19 is creating challenges across the agricultural industry.

Labour shortages on farms and outbreaks of illness among employees at processing plants are two current issues that affect the food supply.

The federal government has announced millions in new spending for farmers just this week, including money to help employers of temporary foreign workers and to increase the number of food inspectors.

Bibeau says more ways to help are being explored, including how to get students and others into farm jobs and increasing financial support direct to farms.

She says now that the government has put in place major financial assistance programs for most Canadians, the focus can shift to helping specific sectors – like agriculture – more directly.

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