COVID-19 and Maple Production
On March 11 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The Canadian and Québec governments responded with unprecedented public protection measures. Agricultural producer unions, including Producteurs et productrices acéricoles du Québec (PPAQ) were quick to bring in their own measures to limit the spread of the virus and its impacts on farmers and other producers. You might also want to stay up to date on the virus by following the PPAQ Facebook page and visiting this COVID-19 crisis management page regularly.
Please use email to contact us, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staffing at PPAQ’s Longueuil headquarters has been reduced for safety reasons. Many employees are working from home. Your email will therefore be answered more quickly than would a phone call.
Travel between regions in Québec
On March 29, the Government of Québec announced it would be limiting travel between regions. In principle, people involved in the logistics and agrifood chain are considered part of essential services and can still travel between regions. This includes maple syrup producers and their employees and partners.
This letter (French only) can be completed by maple syrup business owners and used as proof in the event a Sûreté du Québec officer stops a maple industry employee who is traveling for work.
Specific information about traveling between regions can be emailed to email@example.com.
The PPAQ is in contact with the office of Québec’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and can help if you or one of your employees has a problem related to interregional travel.
Guidelines for 2020 Maple Syrup Production
In this document, PPAQ suggests guidelines for maple water harvest and maple syrup production continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. PPAQ wants to stress how important it is for you to look out for your own health and safety as well as that of your family, employees, customers, and authorized buyers.
Agricultural operations are essential
The government of Québec has ordered the closure of all nonessential businesses and other services from March 25 to April 13, 2020.
Agricultural operations are however on the list of essential services and commercial activities, so they may continue operating.
The following have been identified as priority areas:
• Food production (for example agricultural operations, food processing, drink production, slaughterhouses, and market-garden vegetable production)
• Production of inputs needed by priority areas
• Agricultural operation suppliers (machinery, fertilizer, etc.)
PPAQ will continue operations while adhering to public health guidelines. Most of the Longueuil office staff will work remotely.
1. Continuation of advance payment at classification
PPAQ has had to reduce its staff to a minimum. However, we want to reassure you that we have a contingency plan in place to ensure service to producers and buyers at all times as well as payment of classification advances, which should begin in the first week of April, as in previous years.
2. Maple syrup classification
For maple syrup delivery and classification at authorized buyers or in Laurierville, we must, by mutual agreement with the buyers, restrict plant access to only those people essential to their operation. Therefore, in addition to plant staff, only ACER Inspection Division classification teams will be admitted at the various authorized buyers. As a result and until further notice, producers will no longer be able to attend their classification or have access to unloading and weighing areas due to exceptional public health grounds related to the pandemic we are currently experiencing. Maple syrup classified VR5 and CT is automatically revised at the expense of PPAQ.
Remember that you can always consult your classification reports in the Producer section of the website and request a classification review in the same section if necessary.
The PPAQ and the Conseil de l’industrie de l’érable (CIE) have decided together to prioritize the classification in the 3 centralized laboratories (comprising 6 teams of quality check). The other verifiers will be distributed among the buyers in regular classification.
The ACER Inspection Division teams do their best, but a slow-down of the classification is to be expected due to the exceptional situation. We thank you for your patience.
3. Succession quota delay
The PPAQ board of directors has decided, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, to delay issuing the 40,000 succession quota taps for the June 15 application deadline. No new date has been set yet. PPAQ is following the crisis closely. You will be notified as soon as the succession quota program is back in action.
4. UNION LIFE
Annual General Meeting delayed
The PPAQ annual general assembly, originally scheduled for late May, has been moved to fall 2020. The PPAQ board of directors decided to delay the annual event for the protection of participants. But don’t worry, you will still have the opportunity to hear from your union on what it accomplished over the last fiscal year. All maple syrup producers with quotas will be getting their invitation to AGA 2020 in due course.
5. For more on COVID-19
- Government of Canada and COVID-19
- Government of Québec
- Union des producteurs agricoles
- Financement agricole Canada
- Financière agricole du Québec
Employers and employees: visit CNESST website to learn more about the measures to be taken to identify, control and eliminate the virus.
CNESST and COVID-19