The opening times of the various types of poultry houses for sale in Ontario has been finally resolved. In July of 2007, following a two-week long lockout in the legislature, the government brought forward new legislation that would have extended Toronto poultry coop opening times. The new legislation mandated all poultry growers in Ontario to be open for business from Monday to Friday inclusive of statutory public holidays. This solved one of the major issues with raising chickens in Ontario. The previous laws had made it difficult to find local growers willing to close for two weeks or more at a time when the average daily temperatures were in the mid seventies and eighties. Although, Ontario’s new laws do not affect those growers already in operation.
With the implementation of the new legislation poultry growers in Ontario now have an additional six days of weekend availability from Saturday to Sunday. The additional four days of week length provides poultry farmers in Ontario with another scheduling option in their quest to remain in business. This is especially advantageous for small rural growers with limited access to raw materials, capital, or insurance coverage. The new legislation also gives these growers a fourth day of vacation leave. This is beneficial to those farmers operating under tight deadlines in order to meet goals and deadlines without sacrificing profitability.
The extension of chicken coop opening times in Ontario has proven beneficial to consumers in two different ways. First, by providing a fourth day for consumers to safely shop for poultry products throughout the week, Ontario farmers have more availability of supplies and services during peak seasons. The increased availability of chickens in the market place has reduced the cost of eggs and chickens in comparison to other types of eggs and chickens. This competitive advantage has translated into a significant profit reduction for farmers in Ontario. The second benefit to the extension of chicken coop opening times in Ontario is that it has increased competitiveness among Canadian chicken producers.
The introduction of new opening times in Ontario has provided an excellent opportunity for chicken and egg producers to access markets in other parts of the world. Many Canadian chicken growers are currently exporting some of their eggs and chickens to countries in Latin America, Russia, and Eastern Europe. The increased demand for poultry products has resulted in less expensive pricing for eggs and chickens, resulting in higher profits for Ontario poultry growers. The availability of chickens and eggs from other parts of the world has also helped reduce the overhead expenses incurred by Ontario chicken farmers.
The Ontario government has taken measures to regulate the coop opening times in order to provide chicken and egg producers with a competitive advantage. The current policy in place allows coops to remain open twenty-four hours a day. This policy allows coops to remain open in periods of extreme weather events such as snow and ice. If weather or bad weather conditions prevent coops from being opened on schedule, then farmers are not required to pay fines unless they are able to prove that there was a direct benefit to their members from their coop opening hours not being opened on schedule.
The current regulation does not allow for any changes to be made to the current opening times. This means that farmers must maintain the same daily quota of chickens and eggs regardless of seasonal changes in the weather. It also means that farmers are only allowed to increase their daily quota by one percent per calendar month. This is in addition to the cost of maintaining the coop and buying feed for the chickens. Many poultry producers in Ontario find that the increased cost of feeding chickens in addition to the increased profit from raising them far outweighs the benefits of having their coops opened on schedule.
Poultry farmers in Ontario have until July to meet the opening criteria for all facilities. Farmers in the providences of Halton, Niagara Falls, Oakville, Burlington, Kitchener, Hamilton, Oakville, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Ottawa, Sudbury, Welland, Burlington, North York and Orleans are all required to meet the requirements until the July deadline. If no agreement has been reached by the end of the July deadline then all properties will be subject to closure. The provincial government has also asked that poultry farmers in the eastern Ontario area upgrade their flocks by July 1st. If they fail to do this then they will be required to close. The reasons given by the government for doing this are that; it is in the interest of the province to see a balanced flock and it promotes local business opportunities in areas outside of Toronto and Hamilton where the majority of poultry farming occurs.
As for the story of the poultry farmer who was able to keep his farm during the lockout, he was not really that disappointed with the outcome. Instead of shutting down he decided to find ways to keep his chickens alive and continue producing quality eggs and meat. He soon learned that by opening his doors early and staying late to feed the chickens as well as keeping an eye on the weather patterns he would be able to keep the farm running at a loss. The result was that he was able to remain open throughout the Ontario government process allowing him to complete his normal daily routines. This experience may be the same for other farmers if the Ontario government is successful in negotiating new farm operating hours. It is very important that farmers remain alert during this process and plan accordingly.