Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) has implemented a new, first-of-its-kind in Canada, effective risk management strategy for chicken broiler farmers which mitigates the devastation caused by potential outbreaks of federally-reportable avian influenza (AI) in Ontario.

Ontario’s over 1,300 family-run chicken farms are now covered under a leading-edge and industry specific insurance policy, which will reduce the financial risk of the disease and support the uninterrupted production of premium Ontario chicken.

“This is a major step forward for our collective industry,” said Ed Benjamins, chair, Chicken Farmers of Ontario. “We know that avian influenza poses a serious risk to our business. We put this new insurance program in place to ensure all farmers are protected and can afford to operate in the wake of an outbreak.”

Research conducted by the Feather Board Command Center (through an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada AgriRisk Initiative grant) details that on average, the likelihood of an AI outbreak occurrence is one in seven years. The Ontario poultry industry was hit with AI in the spring of 2015, which proved to be an industry emergency that left some poultry farmers without access to their growing space for several weeks.


“The supply management system is underpinned by our ability to plan production, and precisely meet the growing needs of our customer base – delivering innovation is critical to evolving the system,” stated Rob Dougans, president and CEO of Chicken Farmers of Ontario. “The Board’s effective risk management strategy has to account for the known, and the unknown – in order to keep our industry moving forward. The threat of AI is something that has been looming for years, and now we are better equipped to manage potential future outbreaks.”

CFO’s new AI disease insurance program is provided by the Poultry Insurance Exchange (PIE), a well-known and long-standing entity, and covers all Ontario chicken broiler farmers from core, to Specialty Breeds, through to the Local Niche and Artisanal Chicken program participants. The coverage elements span from recovered veterinarian fees, laboratory fees, manure heating fees, cleaning and disinfection fees and bird value in the event of a loss.

This new AI disease insurance program would not be possible without industry collaboration. CFO would like to acknowledge the Federal government for their support through the AgriRisk Initiative Program, the Association of Ontario Chicken Processors (AOCP), the Feather Board Command Center (FBCC) and L'Équipe québécoise de contrôle des maladies avicoles (ÉQCMA).