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 e-mail and social media.
*updated* 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, find out how to prevent a here.outbreak on your farm and how your workers can get tested
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has launched a page to share information related to the COVID-19 situation; it contains a specific link for industry with Questions and Answers to particular issues, as well as a series of related links at the bottom of the page.
AAFC has posted workplace guidance for sector employers and employees.
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, read the special briefing provided by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council (CAHRC) and find more CAHRC COVID-19 resources here.
Financial assistance measures
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has developed a summary of financial assistance measures relevant to Ontario farm businesses that have been announced by the federal and provincial governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Find the summary here.
*NEW* COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit (WIPB)
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 from April 19 to September 25, 2021. The employer reimbursement program launched on May 27, 2021 is being administered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Learn more here.
*NEW* Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program (Deadline to apply: November 30, 2021)
The Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program is now open. This $36.6 million program, which includes the additional $10 million in funding for 2021-2022, helps farmers, primary food processors and on-farm service providers purchase personal protective equipment, enhance cleaning and redesign workstations to better protect workers. Learn more here.
As we move forward into the next phase of the ‘new normal’ and prepare for markets to re-open or re-purpose, it is more important than ever to review the tools available to help navigate the market disruptions and uncertainties that lie ahead for the veal sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Find a summary of Cost of Production tools and financial assistance measures that may be applicable to veal producers 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.
Exemption of Essential Workers letter template
The letter clearly identifies businesses that are permitted to stay open as well as a list of essential activities related to the agriculture and food sector that are exempt.
The purpose of the letter is to allow farmers and employees to travel in order to conduct business.
Find the letter here.
A checklist has been provided by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, for producers in the event an employee on your farm tests positive for COVID-19. Each situation and farm will have unique factors and must seek guidance from their local public health unit should an outbreak occur.
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.
Mental health resources
If your farm business and employees are feeling anxious or concerned about the COVID-19 situation, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) developed a resource specifically for Canadian employers recommending six tips for responding to employee anxiety here.
If you or anyone close to you requires support at this time, please find mental health resources available on these websites:
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
The OFA has various resources available regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the agriculture industry. Find them here.
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 refreshed by OMAFRA and VFO in 2019, here.
Risk Management Program
The pace and degree of uncertainty is rapidly changing as the supply chain changes and is disrupted. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is widespread and primary producers need a financial backstop to manage these uncertain times.
The RMP is an already established mechanism through which farmers can be supported and ensure that funding would be provided according to need. VFO will continue to work with our partners to ensure we continue to advocate for the needs of veal farmers in this time of crisis.
On July 16, 2020 the Ontario government announced an increase in available funding for the Risk Management Program (RMP), from $100 million to $150 million, starting with the 2020 program year. The RMP helps farmers manage risks beyond their control, like fluctuating costs and market prices. The funding provides added support now for farmers facing financial challenges due to COVID-19.
Learn more here.
Temporary Foreign Worker Program
More information can be found here.
Transportation of animals
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency/s (CFIA) Interpretive Guidance document Appendix 1, which contains definitions and further clarification of terminology within Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations (HAR) can now be found online here.
Clarifications around intent of certain provisions within the body of the Interpretive Guidance document have been provided as well. These include Feed, water, rest intervals (section 19), Transfer of care (section 20), and Records (section 21).
In addition, 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.
Working with livestock
According to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) there have not been any reports of livestock being infected by COVID-19 anywhere to date. However, livestock producers should follow normal biosecurity measures as always. This includes limiting visitors or workers who may have travelled to, or been in contact with, someone from an affected area. More information, including updates and prevention tips, can be found on the CVMA website.