Ontario funds improved veterinarian access for rural farms
By Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $4 million dollars through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) to help 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.
“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,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food. “Our investments will accelerate the implementation of innovative animal health solutions, such as telemedicine, to increase access to veterinary care throughout Ontario.”
“We know farmers need reliable and timely access to veterinary services to keep their animals healthy and to grow their businesses,” said Lisa Thompson, provincial minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs. “This investment will help farmers protect the welfare of livestock animals and add to our government’s efforts to strengthen access to the high-quality foods our farmers produce.”
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 from Feb. 15 to March 31.