---- UPDATED MAY 28 ----
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 May 28:
- Added a section for listing some supportive consumer messages we've received to date on our Instagram account.
- We have reached 90% of our $100,000 donation goal for the Pork Industry Gratitude Project. See here for more information and how you can help.
- OFA summary of government financial assistance as of May 21.
- Changes to the CEBA will allow more Canadian small businesses to access interest free loans that will help cover operating costs during a period when revenues have been reduced, due to the pandemic. View full statement.
- Front-line workers at Sofina Foods Inc. processing plant in Burlington were treated to lunch as a token of appreciation from Ontario’s pork farmers. View full article.
- Although any help from the federal government to support the food sector weather the storm brought on by COVID-19 is welcomed, Canadian pork producers and their families remain at risk given the very limited support outlined in this morning’s announcement. View full statement.
- Qualifying businesses can apply for the Government of Canada's wage subsidy program.
- Border restrictions relate to people only. Trade and commerce, including livestock movement, will continue.
- 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?
- Processing at Conestoga resumed as planned on Monday, May 4, and cutting on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. The company will continue to monitor and assess new health and safety updates. Thank you to Sofina for scheduling a weekend shift to help address backlogs.
- On Saturday, April 11, Olymel issued a news release confirming that the plant would reopen on Tuesday, April 14, at limited capacity, with protocols in place to help protect the health of employees. Force majeure notifications sent to Ontario producers still apply. At this point, Olymel will continue to accept Ontario hogs at proportionate volumes.
- 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?
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
- As of April 27, 2020, qualifying businesses can begin applying for the Government of Canada's wage subsidy program.
How will travel restrictions impact the Temporary Foreign Workers program?
- Minister Bibeau confirmed temporary foreign workers in agriculture, agri-food, seafood processing and other key industries will be permitted to enter Canada. All individuals entering from abroad must isolate for 14 days upon their arrival. Discussion still continuing.
- Guidance for Employers of Temporary Foreign Workers Regarding COVID-19
- Ontario Ministry of Health - Temporary Foreign Workers Information
- On April 13, the Government of Canada is announcing $50 million to help farmers, all food production and processing employers, put in place the measures necessary to follow the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all temporary foreign workers. Recognizing the importance of this responsibility, the federal government will provide support of $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker, to employers or those working with them to ensure requirements are fully met. More information.
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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.