By Gary Sliworsky
Ag rep, Emo
The new Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program, which came into effect July 1, provides financial assistance to producers whose livestock, poultry, and honey bees have been damaged by wildlife.
Previous programs only compensated for damage caused by wolves, coyotes, and bears. The new program covers for 16 different species which cause damage.
The list of livestock covered by the program also has increased, and now includes bison, donkey, and farmed elk.
In addition, the maximum compensation values for damaged livestock have increased. For example, the maximum compensation for non-registered cattle has been upped from $1,000 per head to $2,500 per head.
To be eligible for compensation, a producer must:
•have a valid farm business registration number (FBR) or approved documentation issued by the ministry for new/retired farmers who do not qualify for an FBR number, or have a religious exemption approved by the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs appeal tribunal;
•have a premises identification number;
•demonstrate to the valuer that reasonable effort has been taken to prevent incidences of wildlife damage to livestock, poultry, beehives, bee colonies, or beehive-related equipment; and
•apply for compensation under the program using the application form.
In a territory with municipal organization, where the producer discovers that livestock or poultry has been injured or killed, and to the best of the producer’s knowledge and belief such injury or death was caused by wildlife, the producer shall notify the municipality within 48 hours of discovering the injury or death.
Within three days of receiving notification, the valuer will make a full investigation and then submit a written report within 10 business days after receiving notification to the municipality, the producer, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
Where it is determined that the claim is valid, the municipality is not liable to pay more than is required under the program guidelines.
If livestock and poultry damage is caused by a dog, the producer is not eligible for compensation through this program.
If damage is caused by dogs, the local municipality will determine if compensation would be payable in accordance with the Protection of Livestock and Poultry from Dogs Act.
In a territory without municipal organization, and where the producer discovers their beehive, bee colony, and beehive-related equipment has been damaged, the process is similar except that the producer shall notify OMAFRA within 48 hours of discovering the damage, injury, or death.
Additional information can be found at www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/predation.htm