In a previous post, we discussed legislation tabled by the Ontario government which would amend the province’s production insurance regime and had the potential to widen production insurance coverage to allow livestock, dairy, poultry, and other producers to benefit from coverage in the event of unexpected loss due to weather, pests, and disease.
The Crop Insurance Act has enabled farmers to obtain production insurance to insure an “agricultural crop or perennial plant” through Agricorp, a Crown agency of the Province of Ontario. The costs of the production insurance premiums are shared by producers and the federal and provincial governments. The use of the language “agriculture crop or perennial plant” within the legislation excluded eligibility of coverage to livestock, dairy, and poultry owners.
Bill 40, the Agriculture Insurance Act, amended the title of the Crop Insurance Act (Ontario) to the Agricultural Products Insurance Act, 1996. Bill 40 struck out the language of the Crop Insurance Act (Ontario) referring to “agricultural crops or perennial plants” and substituted “agricultural products”. The amendments passed the Ontario Legislature and were proclaimed into force on September 1, 2015.
Agricultural products which are eligible for production insurance through Agricorp are named within one of the regulations to the Agricultural Products Insurance Act. Bees, which were previously ineligible for coverage, have been included in the regulation. However, coverage through Agricorp is not yet available for livestock, dairy, and poultry producers. A notice on the Government on Ontario website states that the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs is “committed to working with the agricultural sector to explore the feasibility of expanding eligibility to different agricultural products where there is demand from industry to do so.” As this time, it is unknown when eligibility will be expanded so as to allow other producers to apply.