COVID-19: Resources for the Manitoba hog sector
Scroll down this page to find information on current Manitoba Pork activities, including ordering ear tags, CPE validations, links to reliable sources for the latest COVID-19 information, advice on working with animals and some frequently asked questions.
Ear tag orders
Manitoba Pork continues to process orders for ear tags, but we ask that producers order their tags in advance so they can be mailed. You can also order through the PigTRACE Canada website by logging in and selecting: > My Orders > Create an Order. Please allow 7-10 business days for delivery.
CQA/CPE validations postponed
CPC has recommended that all site visits for CQA/CPE validations (i.e. “Full Validations”) be postponed, as follows:
- Those sites that are due for a Full CPE Validation with a program expiry date on or before June 30, 2020 will automatically be granted a 3-month extension to their expiry date. For example, if your site’s expiry date is usually April 12th, your new expiry date will be July 12th.
- Those sites that are due for a Partial CQA Validation (where no site visit is required) will still have to abide by their current expiry date.
- Currently, the sites that are due for a Full CPE Validation with an expiry date on or after July 1, 2020 should still plan for that date, but the situation will be reassessed at the end of April and an update sent to affected sites.
Links to the latest COVID-19 information
Government of Canada (For printable resources and posters regarding human health and safety to display and distribute in your work areas, click here.)
Guidance for Employers of Temporary Foreign Workers on COVID-19 (printable PDF)
Working with animals
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are exhibiting clinical signs that could be associated with COVID-19, or are experiencing other illness such as the flu, and have contact with animals:
- Have another staff member care for the animals.
- While a recent study suggests that the virus that causes COVID-19 may have the potential to infect some types of animals, similar to what is known for SARS-CoV, there is currently no evidence that other domestic animals can be infected with COVID-19 or can be a source of infection to people. There are still many unknowns about this newly emerged coronavirus and this is an area that remains to be studied and understood.
- Those handling live animals and animal products should practice good personal hygiene, including frequent hand washing before and after touching animals and animal products. They should consider wearing protective gowns, gloves, masks while professionally handling animals and fresh animal products.
- Equipment and working stations should be disinfected frequently, at least once a day.
- Protective clothing should be removed after work and washed daily. Workers should avoid exposing family members to soiled work clothing, shoes, or other items that may have come into contact with potentially contaminated material. It is therefore recommended that protective clothes and items remain at the workplace for daily washing.
- Click here to read and print KAP's Best Practices for On-farm Sanitation.
Quick facts (as of March 27, 2020)
Will processing plants continue to operate in Manitoba and Canada?
- The federal and provincial governments have stressed the importance of maintaining Canada’s food supply. Manitoba Pork is in regular contact with processing partners, transporters and others in the sector, and has discussed contingency plans for ensuring the capacity of processing can be maintained, if this becomes necessary.
Can I continue to export my hogs under current border restrictions?
- On March 18, the Government of Canada announced that the U.S.-Canada border would be closed to non-essential travel (tourism and recreation) beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 20. The movement of goods and services across the border is not limited. Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister have reinforced that travel restrictions and closures will not impact the flow of trade.
Will feed, livestock transport and other support services continue to operate as usual under the current restrictions?
- Companies across the sector are taking steps to reduce the risk of disease for their staff and customers. Service restrictions or limitations will be determined by each company. Some businesses many opt to close retail operations or avoid person-to-person contact. Reach out to your suppliers and service providers to discuss your options.
Will financial support be available to farms/ businesses impacted by the outbreak?
- On March 18, the Government of Canada introduced $27 billion in direct support for Canadian workers and businesses, along with $55 billion in tax deferrals in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Manitoba Pork will continue to work with our sector and government partners to understand how these programs could best benefit the hog sector. Among the highlights of the announcement: Eligible small businesses will be able to access a temporary wage subsidy for 10% of payroll for three months, in order to prevent lay-offs, and the near-term credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector will be increased through Farm Credit Canada.
- Major Canadian banks have also introduced new programs that may allow deferral of mortgage payments and flexibility in lending agreements. Click here to see the Government of Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan for business.
Has any flexibility been provided for when farmers/businesses have to pay taxes this year?
- The federal government’s March 18th COVID-19 Response Plan includes measures that will allow businesses to defer the payment of any income tax that becomes owing between March 18 and August 31, 2020, until after August 31, 2020. Interest and penalties will not be applicable to these unpaid tax balances during this period. The Canada Revenue Agency will defer the filing due date for individual 2019 tax returns until June 1, 2020. For more information, see the Department of Finance Canada’s press release of March 18, 2020.
- On March 22, 2020, the Government of Manitoba announced that it will extend the April and May filing deadlines for small and medium-sized business with monthly remittances of not more than $10,000. For more information, see the Government of Manitoba’s news release of March 22, 2020.
What is the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba doing to lighten the load on farmers/businesses?
Given the economic uncertainties, businesses may be challenged with cash flow and require temporary relief from their WCB payment obligations. In response, the WCB of Manitoba will do the following. Note that these dates may change as the situation continues to evolve.
- Defer premium payments until the end of May.
- Late payment penalties will be waived until further notice.
- Extend the payroll reporting deadline without penalties until the end of May.
- Ensure that coverage remains active for accounts that choose to defer. payments until the end of May.
- Clearances will remain in good standing.
Is financial compensation available to employees unable to work?
- Employment and Social Development Canada has taken several steps to make it easier for people quarantined due to COVID-19 exposure to access employment insurance. These steps include waiving the one-week waiting period to receive benefits and creating dedicated points of contact for those affected by COVID-19. New programs will also increase available support for Canadians without paid sick leave or those who do not qualify for employment insurance benefits, as well as for individuals who lose their job or face reduced hours as a result of COVID-19.
- More information can be found in the Government of Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan for individuals.
How will travel restrictions impact the Temporary Foreign Workers program?
- Click here to read and print Guidance for Employers of Temporary Foreign Works on COVID-19.
- The Government of Canada has agreed to exempt temporary foreign workers from some COVID-19 travel restrictions because of their importance to the Canadian economy. This exemption to that rule will apply to foreign nationals who have already committed to working, studying or making Canada their home. Travel by temporary foreign workers will also be considered essential travel for land border restriction and they will not be restricted entry at the border. All incoming workers must follow health screening advice before leaving their home country and must isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in Canada.
- The government has also modified the Labour Market Impact Assessment process for agriculture and food processing employers to waive the required two-week recruitment period for the next six months. Workers in the low-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program can now be employed for up to two years instead of one. Those who are already in Canada will be allowed to stay even if their work period has expired, as long as they apply for an extension.
- Allowing foreign workers to enter Canada recognizes their vital importance to the Canadian economy, including food security for Canadians and the success of Canadian food producers. The arrival of farm workers and fish/seafood workers is essential to ensure that planting and harvesting activities can take place.
What happens if illness on-farm prevents me from being able to care for my animals?
What other supports are available for our sector?