Predation and Ontario’s Wildlife Damage Compensation Program
The Algonquin Wolf is listed under the Endangered Species Act 2007 and is currently a part of a recovery strategy to improve the number of wolves living and thriving in Ontario. A recent draft recovery strategy recommends preserving the natural habitat of the wolf and reducing trapping and hunting. This week, the CFFO submitted comments on the Draft Recovery Strategy for the Algonquin Wolf, and recommended government provide cost share for improved fencing and guard animals and to allow selective hunting when a wolf becomes a predation issue.
The Algonquin Wolf is just one species, part of the larger predation problem that affects many farmers in Ontario. According to 2017 stats from the Government of Canada, livestock death due to predation results in the loss of millions of dollars every year across the country. Fortunately, compensation is available to Ontario farmers through the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program, an Ontario government-funded program where farmers receive market value for their livestock if they can prove it was killed by one of the listed predators.
While this program helps many farmers receive monetary return for lost livestock, there are some improvements that could be made to the program. For example, as it stands the program is only available for farmers who have a Farm Business Registration (FBR) number. This means that those farmers who do not earn enough revenue to register as a farm business will not be compensated by the program. For farmers who are trying to start up their business, this could mean a significant loss.
The Wildlife Damage Compensation Program calculates compensation based on the “Fair Market Value” for livestock. The program will pay premiums for livestock that are registered (breeding wise) and for livestock that were pregnant at the time of the attack. While these are valid incidents for premiums, there is no mention of premium payments for producers who raise livestock to meet certified standards or niche markets. This is an issue, and something that should be addressed in the future.
CFFO has routinely responded to government consultations on predation. Currently, we have a seat at the discussion table on early consultations for improving the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program.
Overall, predation is a large issue in Ontario. While we are blessed with an abundance of nature and many species, this also causes conflict from losses due to predation. The Wildlife Damage Compensation, while effective, can also be improved in some respects to ensure all farmers receive the fair price for the livestock they have lost. We are pleased to be working toward improvements in the program.
If you have any comments or concerns related to predation and the Wildlife Compensation Program, please submit your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brooke Wareing is Communications Intern for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKXFM Chatham, CKNX Wingham, and UCB Canada radio stations in Chatham, Belleville, Bancroft, Brockville and Kingston.