The Ontario government is proposing an agriculture-wildlife conflict strategy as part of the implementation of the province’s Strategy for Preventing and Managing Human-Wildlife Conflicts in Ontario (2008).
Components of the strategy include:
• promoting producer awareness by developing and enhancing information resources;
• improving programs and tools for producers including compensation programs; and
• greater collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and stakeholders to provide a coordinated response.
Highlights of the Agriculture-Wildlife Strategy
• Enhanced information resources available to producers, such as:
o one-window information access for producers via a web site or information bundle; and
o improved knowledge transfer (e.g. workshops) for producers on best management practices.
• Improved programs/tools for producers such as:
o expanding the livestock damage compensation program;
o funding for strategic investments such as demonstration projects;
o continuing to manage wildlife populations (within sustainable limits) to help minimize agricultural conflicts by applying appropriate hunting seasons and quotas; and
o exploring improvements to coverage for wildlife damage to crops through Production Insurance.
• Greater collaboration between OMAFRA, MNR and stakeholders by creating an agriculture-wildlife conflict working group to ensure transparent implementation of the strategy.
A key part of the strategy will be to expand wildlife damage compensation programs for livestock. Changes to the Livestock, Poultry and Honey Bee Protection Act (LPHBPA) and regulation (R.R.O. 1990, 731, Application for Payment of a Grant) were made through the Open for Business Act, 2010. The changes provide the flexibility to update the wildlife damage compensation program for livestock to:
• allow an expanded list of eligible livestock species,
• expand the list of eligible wildlife species, and
• update the maximum values of compensation.
The LPHBPA also governs the liability of municipalities to compensate producers who have had livestock killed or injured by dogs.
Upon proclamation, the LPHBPA and Regulation 731 would be repealed and replaced with the Protection of Livestock and Poultry from Dogs Act. A new minister’s regulation will prescribe the maximum compensation values for livestock killed or injured by dogs under the Protection of Livestock and Poultry From Dogs Act for each livestock species named under the act. The methodology used to establish maximum compensation values for the new regulation will be developed through the proposed agriculture-wildlife conflict working group.
The new wildlife damage compensation program for livestock will be enabled through an Order-In-Council under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act. Details of the program framework is included in the additional materials section of this posting.