VANCOUVER, British Columbia – BMO Bank of Montreal is offering a relief program for poultry farmers affected by a recent outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

To date, CFIA has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 at 10 farms. Flocks were humanely euthanized at four farms as of Dec. 10; additional culls were expected. The agency mobilized all available resources to respond to the outbreak, and also implemented a control zone to prevent the spread of the virus.

This image is a map showing the restricted zone and the infected zones inside the Primary Control Zone. There is one large restricted zone between Langley in the west and Chilliwack in the east. Inside the restricted zone there are three smaller infected zones. Click for larger view.

With so many farms already affected and other poultry farms at risk, BMO Bank of Montreal created the financial relief program to assist commercial poultry growers in British Columbia and other impacted locations throughout western Canada.

The program includes:

• Deferral of loan payments;
• Waiver of a new loan application and concessions on renewal fees; and
• Flexible terms on existing and new lines of credit are being developed on a case-by-case basis.

"While this is not a wide-spread issue, affected poultry producers are no doubt feeling a great deal of uncertainty around what the next few days, weeks and months will bring in light of the recent events surrounding avian influenza," said Mike Bonner, senior vice president, BC and Yukon Division, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Over the years, we've built valuable relationships with poultry producers in the region that have spanned decades, and as members of this community, we stand by producers in good times and bad and are here to help those affected through this difficult period."