Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) is closely monitoring global developments related to the pandemic, and will post updates here as they are made available. In addition, any significant developments related to the veal sector will be shared via email and social media.
COVID-19: farmer toolkit
This online toolkit aims to be a “one-stop shop” for farm operators on guidance, resources and information related to prevention, control, testing and outbreak management support. Get access to agriculture-specific resources, and find out how to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak on your farm and how your workers can get tested here.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is taking action to address the challenges posed by COVID-19. This page contains information for those in the agriculture industry (producers, processors, and agri-food businesses).
Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council
For more information about managing COVID-19 in the agriculture industry, the risk to the work environment and employee health and safety, find resources from the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council (CAHRC) here.
Financial assistance measures
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both the Canadian government and the Ontario government have announced financial assistance measures for individuals and businesses, including farm businesses. This resource by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) includes information about existing programs and new financial assistance measures.
Find the summary here.
*NEW* Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program
The Ontario government has launched a new intake under the Enhanced Agri‐food Workplace Protection Program to support workers’ health and safety and ensure the continued supply of locally grown food all year round.
The program is a cost‐sharing initiative that provides financial assistance to eligible agri‐food businesses that continue to face extraordinary costs related to wage support, isolation and quarantine measures, and infection prevention and control measures.
Learn more here.
COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit
Under the COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit (WIPB), employers can apply to get reimbursed for up to three days pay (max $200/day) paid to employees on paid infectious disease emergency leave. The employer reimbursement program is being administered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
This program has been extended to March 31, 2023. Applications for reimbursement of paid infectious disease emergency leave must be made within 120 days of the date the employer paid the employee, or by July 29, 2023 (whichever is earlier).
Learn more here.
COVID-19 rapid testing and screening in workplaces: Get free rapid tests
The Government of Canada, some provincial/territorial governments and distribution partners are providing free rapid COVID-19 tests to organizations. These tests are to be used for regular workplace screening of employees. Farm businesses and not-for-profit organizations are eligible to apply. Learn more here.
Cost of Production tools and financial assistance measures available for veal producers during COVID-19
Tools are available to help navigate the market disruptions and uncertainties that lie ahead for the veal sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more here.
Guide for direct sales to consumers during COVID-19 and beyond
During these unprecedented times, the OFA recognizes that it is not ‘business as usual’, and hopes to provide some support and guidance to help you continue to sell and market your agricultural products.
The Guide provides ideas for alternative market channels available to you, general health and safety protocols when selling direct, how to set up your operation, keep your workforce safe, and market your operation using social media and other online tools. They have also provided a number of resources from other organizations supporting farmers selling direct.
Find the updated resource here.
OMAFRA has drafted two resources for producers to keep them updated with the current government programs and HR resources during COVID-19. These resources will be updated on a regular basis.
Both the Ontario and Canadian Governments have useful information for farmers and agribusiness owners about the COVID-19 Pandemic. Please click on the below links to find out more information.
Health Canada issues Public Advisory concerning the use of veterinary ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19
Health Canada has received concerning reports of the use of veterinary ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19. Canadians should never consume health products intended for animals because of the potential serious health dangers posed by them.
In this light, Health Canada is advising Canadians not to use either the veterinary or human drug versions of Ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19. There is no evidence that ivermectin in either formulation is safe or effective when used for those purposes.
Read the full advisory here.
Health & Safety Resources
Partnering with Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS), OMAFRA is providing the sector with educational resources, tools and consulting services to help them implement health and safety protocols. Additional details about businesses that may qualify can be found online on the WSPS website here.
Mental health resources
If you or anyone close to you requires support at this time, please find mental health resources available on these websites:
- Canadian Mental Health Association
- Ontario Federation of Agriculture
- Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Priority information resources
OMAFRA has pulled together priority information resources for producers. Deciding when and how to market and feed your animals right now can be a difficult decision. Find resources that may help to guide your decision, including the veal Cost of Production calculator updated by OMAFRA and VFO in 2019 below:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Directory
The Ontario government has also put together a directory of PPE suppliers to help you access the equipment that you need. The directory is available here.
Revised Food and Agriculture Organization Guidance for preventing the transmission of COVID-19
On August 2, 2021, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) updated their guidance document entitled, “COVID-19: Guidance for preventing transmission of COVID-19 within food businesses“, originally published on April 7, 2020. Canada, along with other trading partners, had been requesting the FAO guidance be updated over the past year to reflect that COVID-19 is a public health concern and not a food safety concern.
The purpose of the revised FAO publication is to highlight the measures needed to control COVID-19 in food operations while protecting both employees and the food supply chain.
Transportation of animals
The CFIA has heard concerns about paper/documentation changing hands during the COVID-19 situation. In the current circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to adhere to specific health and safety measures, it may be useful to note that the new requirements under Part XII of the HAR pertaining to record-keeping and transfer of care documents may be met using electronic means rather than paper documents. The CFIA will exercise flexibility in cases where industry is unable to meet the record-keeping and transfer of care documents requirements under Part XII of the HAR (transport of animals) during the COVID-19 pandemic.