The Canadian government is offering up to CA$559,285 to (US$440,512) help Turkey Farmers of Ontario finalize and launch a new insurance product to protect Ontario turkey producers from losses associated with outbreaks of avian influenza.

When fully implemented, this insurance will help bridge the gap in existing coverage. Specifically, it has been designed to cover economic losses resulting from the difference between compensation through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for animals ordered destroyed and their full market value. This may include incremental costs related to things such as cleaning and disinfection, veterinary services, the disposal of feed, and other costs related to the resumption of operations.

“The turkey industry has encountered numerous challenges over the past few years and this funding is very important for the implementation of an Avian Influenza Insurance Program. This will protect not only turkey producers but by extension the poultry industry in Ontario,” said Brian Ricker, chairman of Turkey Farmers of Ontario.

The insurance will help the turkey industry improve its resiliency and ensure Ontario producers are able to resume production as soon as possible when disaster strikes, according to a press release from the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada agency.

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“Disease outbreaks can have a big impact on producers and our Government is working hard to support them when they face these challenges. This new insurance product will help Ontario turkey farmers in their efforts to protect their businesses and return to production following a sudden outbreak of avian influenza,” said Canadian Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.

“Ontario’s turkey farmers can be relied on for their commitment to producing high-quality products. This initiative will help ensure they can keep doing the work they love, running their farm businesses, so that consumers can enjoy healthy turkey products,” added Tim Louis, member of parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga. 

Canada’s turkey industry generates products worth CA$382.6 million, and up to CA$42.6 million in exports to 37 countries, according to the ministry. Outbreaks of infectious diseases like avian influenza can impact producers’ ability to maintain operations and resume normal business practices, resulting in significant economic losses.  

View our continuing coverage of the global avian influenza situation.