Governments Increasing Veterinarian Capacity for Ontario Farms: $4 Million Investment to Help Farmers Access Veterinary Care
January 19, 2021 – Blyth, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $4 million dollars through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) to give farmers improved access to veterinary services when and where they need it.
The Livestock Veterinary Innovation Initiative is a new, cost-share program that will increase the access options for veterinary care, especially in rural and northern Ontario, to better support animal health, the livestock agri-food sector and the strength of the province's food supply.
In consultation with farmers and stakeholders in the veterinary sector, this investment focuses on improving virtual care options, expanding telemedicine access and addressing issues with mobile clinics to address current challenges, such as long distances between farmers and animal heath care providers and the shortage of food-animal veterinarians working in underserviced areas.
Examples of projects eligible for support under this initiative include:
- Equipment to help veterinary practices deliver enhanced virtual care, diagnostic work and tele-medical support for farms.
- Portable, specialized, livestock handling equipment to help veterinary practices or farms manage animals while receiving care; and
- Training for veterinary professionals to help them use new equipment, techniques or deliver more efficient and accessible support to livestock farmers.
Eligible applicants can receive up to 35 per cent cost share for eligible expenses province-wide and up to 50 per cent cost-share in areas that have been identified as underserviced in terms of available veterinary capacity. Maximum funding amounts differ by project category.
Veterinary businesses can apply for support through this initiative starting February 15, 2022 to March 31, 2022.
Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed over $100 million in support to more than 5,000 projects through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. This funding will help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations the ability to innovate and grow.
"Canadian farmers take great care of their animals. It is essential that they have easy access to veterinary services, no matter where their farm is located. Our investments will accelerate the implementation of innovative animal health solutions, such as telemedicine, to increase access to veterinary care throughout Ontario."
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
"We know farmers need reliable and timely access to veterinary services to keep their animals healthy and to grow their businesses. This investment will help farmers operate their businesses more efficiently, protect the welfare of livestock animals and add to our government's efforts to strengthen access to the high-quality foods our farmers produce."
- Lisa Thompson, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister
"There are many complicated issues facing veterinarians and the provision of veterinary care to Ontario's producers, including the challenge of increased demand for services amid persistent labour shortages. OVMA is encouraged that the Livestock Veterinary Innovation Initiative begins to address some of these obstacles to help ensure that Ontario's food supply is secure, and to support the crucial role of veterinarians in ensuring that. As they have since the pandemic began nearly two years ago, veterinarians across Ontario have been working tirelessly to serve their clients and ensure the safety of our food supply during unprecedented times."
- John Stevens, Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Veterinary Medical Association
"It is a tremendous concern for an animal owner when they are unable to access veterinary services. In particular, this is an ongoing challenge for livestock producers in rural and northern Ontario. The Livestock Veterinary Innovation Initiative provides veterinarians with an option to enhance their access to the tools and educational resources that are needed to support the availability of veterinary medicine in underserviced areas. The College welcomes this innovative program as a step forward in the modernization of the delivery of veterinary medicine in Ontario."
- Lorie Gold, President, College of Veterinarians of Ontario
"This initiative is an opportunity to address the long-standing challenges with access to veterinary care for farmers and food animal producers across Ontario. Support for technology, training and equipment will help enable better utilization of Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVTs) in the delivery of timely animal health care."
- Elise Wickett, Executive Director & Registrar, Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians
"By addressing the challenges faced by rural and remote veterinarians, farmers will have improved access to the essential veterinary services they require to keep their livestock healthy. This important initiative will ensure a strong livestock sector and have a positive impact across the agri-food supply chain."
- Doug Alexander, Chair, Agricultural Adaptation Council
The Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion commitment by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors. This includes a $2 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.
Applications for the Livestock Veterinary Innovation Initiative will be accepted on February 15, 2022 until March 31, 2022.
Approved projects must be completed by Sept. 30, 2022.
In 2020, the Ontario agri-food sector supported more than 720,000 jobs in Ontario and contributed $46.3 billion to the provincial economy.
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