The Ontario government has tabled legislation to amend the
province's production insurance regime and to bring it in-line
with other provincial regimes. If implemented, the amendments have
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. This amendment would add to the suite of programs already
available through Agricorp which help producers manage risks such
as fluctuating costs and market prices.
Currently, production insurance is provided to Ontario farmers
through Agricorp, a Crown agency of the Province of Ontario.
Farmers split the cost of the premiums with federal and provincial
governments. As the legislation is currently worded, coverage is
only available to cover losses to an agricultural crop or perennial
plant arising from insured perils such as weather, pests or
The Crop Insurance Act of Ontario states at section
5. (4) AgriCorp may enter into a contract
of insurance to insure an agricultural crop or perennial plant with
any person who,
a) has an insurable interest in the
agricultural crop or perennial plant; and
b) otherwise meets the qualifications and
requirements set by AgriCorp under clause (2)(a).
Clause 2(a) enables Agricorp to determine the qualifications and
requirements for a person to enter into a contract of
Within this legislative framework, Agricorp offers production
insurance for a number of commercially grown crops in Ontario in
the following sectors: forage; fruit and honey; grains and
oilseeds; vegetables; tobacco and certain specialty crops.
Bill 40, the Agriculture Insurance Act, would amend the
title of the Crop Insurance Act (Ontario) to the
Agricultural Products Insurance Act, 1996. Bill 40 would
strike out the language of the Crop Insurance Act
(Ontario) referring to "agricultural crops or perennial
plants" and substitute "agricultural products". The
bill would also give the Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural
Affairs the authority to make regulations designating which
agricultural products may be included for coverage. The Minister of
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Mr. Jeff Leal, has stated that
input from the agriculture and food industry will be critical in
determining the scope of the expansion of production insurance.
Livestock, dairy, poultry, and bees could all be included within
the list of agricultural products insured under the revamped
production insurance regime.
The bill passed second reading on March 11, 2015 and was
referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
for consideration. If passed, these amendments have the potential
to add to Ontario farmers' options to manage risk and losses
due to weather, pests, and disease. However, some legislators and
observers have commented that any expansion in coverage must also
come with an expansion in funding.
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