Province Releases New COVID-19 Prevention Strategy For Agri-farms

Monday November 16th, 2020

Posted at 10:46am

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Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, announces the plan at Mastronardi Produce on Monday morning.

The Ontario government has announced a new strategy for controlling the spread of COVID-19 on agri-farms throughout the province.

Details of the strategy were announced Monday morning by Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at a press conference in Kingsville.

“Ontario’s agri-food sector has worked hard to address a difficult situation and our new strategy will help them to be even more effective in controlling this pandemic, protect our food supply chain and keep workers safe,” said Hardeman.

The strategy is based around three pillars related to prevention and containment: before getting on the farm; on the farm; and farm worker housing.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs says the plan contains 35 actions directed at governments, farmers and workers.

It calls for actions such as asking farms to commit to daily screening of all farm workers and other visitors, providing temporary foreign workers with detailed information on the prevention and control of COVID-19 in a “culturally appropriate resource package” that is “clear and easy to understand” and made available in multiple formats, and assigning workers to the same cohorts in living and working areas to “limit exposure of workers to those within the cohort.”

The strategy also calls on industry and government to establish a working group to focus on the housing situation for agri-farm workers — a situation that has resulted in considerable spread of COVID-19 due to close living conditions.

It also calls for “a streamlined approach to inspections of agriculture worker dwellings to ensure that a COVID-19 prevention and mitigation lens has been applied to address any gaps.”

You can read the full strategy on OMAFRA’s website.

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