Government investing $15 million into health and safety measures for farm operations. The Government of Ontario is taking additional steps to better protect workers in the agri-food sector during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The province is significantly expanding the Agri-food Workplace Protection Program and committing up to $15 million to enhance health and safety measures on farms and in food processing facilities.
The Agro-Food Workplace Protection Programme provides co-funding to farmers to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and to implement changes in the workplace while respecting the health and safety of workers, and to ensure the continued supply of locally grown food during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The governments of Canada and Ontario are joining forces by committing a total of $4.5 million to date for provincial-licensed farmers and meat processors to improve worker safety under Canada’s agricultural partnership program.
“Agri-food businesses and their hardworking employees play a critical role in keeping our food supply chain strong, providing us with fresh, high-quality and nutritious food all year round,”
said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Some of the measures already approved through this program include purchases of PPE, temporary housing for ill workers, building physical barriers for worker separation, enhanced hand washing facilities and a tent rental to expand lunch room space.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has partnered with the Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) to provide agri-food businesses, organizations and associations with educational resources, tools and consulting services to help them implement COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The action plan includes $3.3 billion of additional resources for health care, $3.7 billion to support people and jobs, and it makes available $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals to improve their cash flow, protecting jobs and household budgets.