$4 million investment to help Ontario farmers access veterinary care
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.
In 2020, the Ontario agri-food sector supported more than 720,000 jobs in Ontario and contributed $46.3 billion to the provincial economy. ■