ONTARIO — Ontario’s Government for the People is taking immediate action to ensure the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program works as it is intended to support farmers who lose livestock to predators. This is part of the government’s mandate to cut red tape and reduce regulatory burden for businesses.
“We heard livestock farmers’ concerns with the program so we’re making the first changes effective immediately,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “We’re also continuing to consult with farmers to ensure future changes we make are meaningful and effective.”
Two changes to the program, which will apply to all claims assessed from September 4, onwards, are now in effect:
- The Farm Business Registration Number (FBRN) requirement has been updated to allow applicants to apply for the program compensation if they have a valid FBRN number in the current or the previous calendar year, or have a valid FBRN exemption.
- The standardized pricing methodology has been updated to provide separate pricing for steers and heifers.
A number of stakeholder organizations provided feedback during the program review. Over the fall, Ontario will seek additional input and advice from the sector on:
- Introducing more ways to demonstrate that wildlife predation occurred
- Ensuring municipal investigators are effectively trained to assess predation
- Creating a separate appeals process that restores farmers confidence in the independence and transparency of the process
- Refining the standardized pricing model to better reflect market prices
“This government is committed to making changes that work for farmers, and we will address their concerns so the program works for farmers as intended,” said Minister Hardeman. “This is one step of many to review programs to ensure they work for the people and do not add unnecessary regulatory burdens.”
It is expected that a majority of program changes will be introduced in early 2019.