Canadian government officials have announced funding for two initiatives worth up to CA$1.58 million (US$1.31 million) to help poultry producers in British Columbia re-establish their operations and mitigate the impact of future risks following an outbreak of avian influenza that struck the province’s Fraser Valley during the past winter.

H5N2 and H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks first hit British Columbia in late 2014 and continued to be confirmed through February 2015.

The Canadian government’s AgriRecovery and AgriRisk initiatives, which will be used to aid poultry producers, are part of the suite of federal-provincial-territorial (FPT) business risk management tools under Growing Forward 2, a five-year policy framework for Canada’s agricultural and agri-food sector.

"Governments agreed that Growing Forward 2 ‎would be there for farmers in times of unforeseen economic harm. These initiatives will help BC poultry producers deal with added costs of resuming business operations, while helping the poultry sector develop insurance options against future outbreaks," said Member of Parliament for Langley, Mark Warawa.

Garnet Etsell, chair of the BC Poultry Industry Captive Insurance Company and director of the 2014 Industry Emergency Operations Centre, added: "The funding for the AgriRecovery claim and the AgriRisk initiative goes hand in hand and it's much appreciated by industry. The BC poultry industry is thankful for the assistance, and both the provincial and federal governments' timely help in reducing the economic hardship experienced by those affected by the 2014 avian influenza outbreak through the AgriRecovery program. The AgriRisk initiative will help the industry continue its leading edge work on developing a risk mitigation strategy that will further reduce the effects of future threats."

To track confirmed cases of the North American avian influenza outbreak, see WATTAgNet's avian influenza tracker map and bookmark the avian influenza update page for news about and analysis of avian influenza.