Small Flock Exemptions

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UPDATE (August 2015): Sustain Ontario is thrilled to announce that after over two years of campaigning for more Flocking Options in Ontario’s chicken quota system, the Chicken Farmers of Ontario have announced a new Artisanal Chicken program. Read more.

For further reading on the new Family Food and Artisanal Chicken programs, please read our Q & A with CFO (Aug. 12, 2015) and a review of the “Allocating Future Growth” Consultation Reports (Aug. 26, 2015).

Below is a record of our collective work related to small flock exemptions in Ontario’s broiler chicken supply management system.


Sustain Ontario is currently working with its members and other stakeholders to improve dialogue around supply management of chickens in the province. Chicken farmers in Ontario cannot raise more than 300 chickens a year without holding quota, however, this is a costly process and the minimum number of chickens required is excessive for most farmers (almost 91,000 chickens a year). This leaves many producers who want to raise and sell free-range, organic and/or pastured chickens out of the picture. The province currently has some of the most restrictive policies in the country around small flocks of chickens. The 300-bird limit is referred to as Ontario’s current small-flock exemption. Sustain’s initiative arose out of a campaign launched by The Practical Farmers of Ontario (PFO) in September asking for change in the current supply managed system of  chickens in Ontario. See below for more information on supply management and the PFO’s campaign.

Supply Management of Chickens in Ontario

Supply Management 101: What Are Ontario’s Flocking Options? from Sustain Ontario on Vimeo.

Read our FAQ to understand how supply managed systems work and why some farmers feel it is time for change.






     Watch our City to Country virtual tour on supply management







See the Metcalf paper for a more detailed analysis of supply management and how it affects farmers.






The PFO’s campaign to increase small-flock exemptions


The Practical Farmer’s of Ontario is a recently formed group of farmers and farm supporters who recently launched a campaign to have the current small flock exemption number in the province raised. In September this year the PFO wrote to the Chicken Farmers of Ontario, the province’s supply management board, requesting that the number of chickens a farmer can raise without holding quota be increased from 300 to 2000 birds a year. While the PFO’s initial request was turned down, the board has since agreed to consider the matter at their next meeting on November 15. Read the PFO’s letter to the board here.

Find out more about the PFO’s campaign at The Practical Farmer’s of Ontario website.




Media coverage on supply management of chickens

PFO requests increase in chicken-quota exemption” by October, 2012.

Why you can’t find heritage poultry”  by Mark Schatzer. The Globe and Mail. January 3rd, 2012.

Burt Farm chicken quota request turned down by ag ministry tribunal” by Stacie Lavallie. The Manitoulin Expositor. November 16, 2011.

Quota exemption for Ontario’s small chicken farmers” by Better December 18, 2008.