COVID-19 Update - What's New | Ontario Pork
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
    

What's New

Monday, April 6, 2020

COVID-19 Update


---- UPDATED APRIL 6 ----


COVID-19 Farm Information Guide for Ontario Pork Producers


To all Ontario Pork producers,

Ontario Pork is closely monitoring recommendations from the government and public health as well as news from industry partners in relation to the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation.

As of April 6:

On March 29, Olymel Pork Processing announced the temporary closure of its processing facility in Yamachiche, Quebec for a period of 14 days.

Ontario Pork has been in communication with Olymel, as well as national partners to understand the potential impact on Ontario hogs. While no Ontario hogs are processed at the Yamachiche plant, some loads are expected to be delayed or displaced as a result of the closure.

Olymel’s Yamachiche location employs approximately 1,000 people, and has reported nine cases of COVID-19 identified to date. The decision to close was made by in order to protect staff and reduce the risk of community spread.

On April 2, 2020, Ontario pork producers who ship to Olymel plants in Quebec received notice that the company would exercise the Force Majeure clause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, Ontario ships approximately 20,000 hogs to Quebec each week.

The Canadian Meat Industry released information about COVID-19 protocols being followed in plants to reduce the risk of disruptions to the supply chain. Ontario Pork continues to work closely with industry partners and government to keep plants operating as they usually do, and maintain steady hog movement.

Plants in Ontario will continue to work with the CFIA Veterinarian-in-Charge at each site, to facilitate overtime and weekend shifts as required.

For more information, please contact Stacey Ash, manager of communications and consumer marketing, Ontario Pork, at stacey.ash@ontariopork.on.ca or 519-820-3119.

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  • OFA summary of government financial assistance as of April
  • On April 1, the Ontario government announced that farmers will have until June 30, 2020, to apply for or make changes to coverage under RMP for livestock and RMP: Grains and Oilseeds. More information.
  • On March 31, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency released new guidelines for meat slaughter and processing facilities to prevent and respond to COVID-19 among plant employees.
  • The Weston Abattoir in Maidstone, Ontario has announced a temporary closure due to staffing shortages.
  • Border restrictions relate to people only. Trade and commerce, including livestock movement, will continue.
  • Processing plants in Ontario continue to operate. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has activated its business continuity plan. While discussions continue to understand the full impact at the plant level, CFIA has temporarily suspending low-risk activities that do not immediately impact food production or safety. CFIA will prioritize critically important services. More information.
  • The pork industry appreciates that inspection services have been identified as a priority for CFIA employees. Plants will continue to work with the CFIA Veterinarian-in-Charge at each site, to facilitate overtime and weekend shifts as required.
  • There is no evidence that pigs are susceptible to COVID-19.

COVID-19 and the swine industry:

Please visit our full, comprehensive and live-updated COVID-19 Farm Information Guide for Ontario Pork Producers

Will processing plants continue to operate in Ontario/Canada?

  • Yes. The federal and provincial governments have stressed the importance of maintaining Canada’s food supply. In introducing a State of Emergency in Ontario on March 17, Premier Doug Ford stated that most businesses and factories would remain open. Ontario Pork is in regular contact with processing partners, transporters and others in the industry, and is preparing contingency plans for the movement of hogs out of province, if this becomes necessary.
  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has activated its business continuity plan. While discussions continue to understand the full impact at the plant level, CFIA has temporarily suspending low-risk activities that do not immediately impact food production or safety. CFIA will prioritize critically important services. More information.
  • The pork industry appreciates that inspection services have been identified as a priority for CFIA employees. Plants will continue to work with the CFIA Veterinarian-in-Charge at each site, to facilitate overtime and weekend shifts as required.
  • The Canadian Meat Council has released an infographic showcasing the measures taken by the industry to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Can I continue to export my hogs under current border restrictions?

  • Yes. On March 18, the Government of Canada announced that the U.S.-Canada border would be closed to non-essential travel (tourism and recreation) – likely beginning overnight between Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21. This follows earlier international travel restrictions announced on March 16. The movement of goods and services across the border is not limited. Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford have reinforced that travel restrictions and closures will not impact the flow of trade.

Will feed, livestock transport and other support services continue to operate as usual under the current restrictions?

  • Companies across the industry are taking steps to reduce the risk of disease for their staff and customers. Service restrictions or limitations will be determined by each company. Some businesses many opt to close retail operations, or avoid person-to-person contact. Reach out to your suppliers to discuss your options.

Will financial support be available to farms/ businesses impacted by the outbreak?

  • On March 18, the Government of Canada introduced $27 billion in direct support for Canadian workers and businesses, along with $55 billion in tax deferrals in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Ontario Pork will continue to work with our industry and government partners to understand how these programs could best benefit the pork sector. Among the highlights of the announcement: Eligible small businesses will be able to access a temporary wage subsidy for 10% of payroll for three months, in order to prevent lay-offs, and the near-term credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector will be increased through Farm Credit Canada.
  • Major Canadian banks have also introduced new programs that may allow deferral of mortgage payments and flexibility in lending agreements.
  • There will be new measures to support farmers and agri-food businesses facing financial impacts of COVID-19, including $5 billion in lending capacity for producers, agribusinesses and food processors.
  • OFA summary of government financial assistance as of April

Is financial compensation available to employees unable to work?

  • Employment and Social Development Canada has taken several steps to make it easier for people quarantined due to COVID-19 exposure to access employment insurance. These steps include waiving the one-week waiting period to receive benefits, and creating dedicated points of contact for those affected by COVID-19. New programs will also increase available support for Canadians without paid sick leave or those who do not qualify for employment insurance benefits, as well as for individuals who lose their job or face reduced hours as a result of COVID-19.
  • More information can be found at: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html#individual

How will travel restrictions impact the Temporary Foreign Workers program?

What happens if illness on-farm prevents me from being able to care for our animals?

  • Some companies supporting the pork industry have teams or resources available to help barns operate in times of crisis. Given the extent of the COVID-19 situation, these resources may be limited. If you need help, reach out to suppliers, or contact Ontario Pork’s industry and member services team.

Is Ontario Pork continuing to offer services to producers during the COVID-19 outbreak?

  • Ontario Pork continues to operate all services. In an effort to reduce office density, staff have been offered the option of rotating between home and office locations. As Ontario Pork limits visitors to the office, please call ahead if you plan to visit.
  • We have received recommendations from the Canadian Pork Council (CPC) to postpone on-farm visits related to full validations on the CQA and CPE programs (PigSAFE|PigCARE). We encourage producers to complete their site manager training online.
  • Ontario Pork will still be processing orders for PigTrace individual ID ear tags; however, we will no longer be accepting office pickups at this time. Please allow 7-10 business days for delivery. You can also order through the PigTrace website: https://pigtrace.traceability.ca/ by logging in and selecting “My Orders” > “Create an Order”

What the Ontario Pork office is doing:

  • The office remains open and all core services continue to operate as usual; however, mailings may be delayed by a few days.
  • Ontario Pork will decrease office density by offering employees the option to work from home.
  • Ontario Pork staff will temporarily restrict non-essential business travel and refrain from bringing external visitors into the office
  • Wherever possible, meetings will take place via teleconference or video.
  • Anyone exhibiting signs of illness, or having had contact with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients has been asked to remain home.
  • Staff returning from personal or business travel outside of Canada have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days, as per Public Health Canada guidelines.
  • Additional cleaning measures are in place.
  • Staff are encouraged to follow health-unit guidelines about handwashing and personal hygiene.

Please consider establishing similar protocols in your operation. Find out more from the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council at https://cahrc-ccrha.ca/programs/emerging-agriworkforce-issues/information-and-updates-coronavirus-covid-19.

Please see the Canadian Pork Council's guide to COVID-19.

Questions about COVID-19 coronavirus?

For up-to-date, local information, contact the public health unit in your community. Find more information about the current outbreak at:

At this point, public health officials advise that COVID-19 presents a low risk to most Canadians. Canada’s government is encouraging Canadians to limit social interactions.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a coronavirus affecting people. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold.

Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty Breathing

How it is spread:

  • Respiratory droplets when you cough or sneeze
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching something with the virus on it, then touching eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands

Ways you can prevent the spread of infection:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve and not your hands
  • Stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others

***If you develop symptoms, please contact your doctor, healthcare provider or public health unit. ***

For more information, please contact Stacey Ash, manager of communications and consumer marketing, at 519-820-3119 or stacey.ash@ontariopork.on.ca.

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