COVID-19: Resources for food processors
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is working closely with stakeholders and other partners to support the safety of Ontario's food processing workers and Ontario's food supply during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For information specific to agriculture, visit COVID-19: Resources for the agri-food industry.
COVID-19 Monthly Webinar Series
Each month, OMAFRA and our partners will hold a webinar to provide up-to-date, relevant information to help our agri-food stakeholders in our collective fight against COVID-19. The monthly webinars are set for the third Tuesday of each month at noon. The June session of OMAFRA's COVID-19 Monthly Webinars Series will focus on workplace obligations related to using temporary help agencies.
Agriculture Sector: Using Temporary Help Agencies and Employment Standards
Tuesday, June 22nd 12:00 - 1:00 PM ET
When faced with a labour shortage, many employers in the agriculture sector turn to a temporary help agency (THA) for assistance. But did you know clients of agencies have legal obligations when using a THA? Before speaking with an agency, clients of agencies should find out what their responsibilities are under the ESA.
To help support Ontario's agriculture sector, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) are partnering to offer a session about employment standards as they relate to THAs. The session will provide an overview on:
- the employment standards responsibilities of the agency and the client
- things to consider when engaging a temporary help agency
- the current THA inspection initiative
There will also be a Q&A period where you can ask and get answers to your own questions.
You must register in advance. To register, follow this link.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting to learn more about your workplace obligations.
Prevention, Control and Best Practices
COVID-19 Vaccine Resources
- Ontario's COVID-19 vaccination plan
- Guidance for prioritization of Phase 2 populations for COVID-19 vaccination (Ministry of Health)
- COVID-19 Vaccine Information Sheet (Ministry of Health)
- After Your COVID-19 Vaccine (Ministry of Health)
- COVID-19 Documents in other languages
- COVID-19 vaccines and workplace health and safety page (Ministry of Labour)
- What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine for Canada (available in many languages) (Government of Canada)
- Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association: Resources for Agricultural
- Vaccine Resources (available in English, Spanish and Thai)
COVID-19 Screening and Testing Resources
- Routine Screening - Employers are required to actively screen every worker before they enter the workplace at the start of their shift. A worker and employee screening tool is available. Learn more about workplace screening for COVID-19.
- Provincial Antigen Screening Program - The Ontario government is encouraging the use of rapid antigen point-of-care testing as an enhanced screening tool for asymptomatic employees, that will allow employers to add an additional safety measure to their workplaces, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Ontario's rapid antigen point-of-care tests are available for agri-food businesses, including primary agricultural production, food and beverage processing, and key distribution centres. Learn how rapid antigen screening can fit into your screening program. Please visit Screening for COVID-19: guidance for employers for more information.
- Through the COVID-19 Testing for Organizations page, organizations can learn about rapid antigen screening and determine if they want, and are eligible to receive, free rapid antigen tests from the Government of Ontario. Agri-food employers who are interested in participating can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- COVID-19 Guidance: Considerations for Rapid Antigen Point-of-Care Screening
Develop your COVID-19 workplace safety plan (Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development)
Information Links for Managing Human Resources COVID-19 Response: to help agri-food businesses understand changes related to managing staff on their operation. The information is current as of the publication date; however, it may be subject to frequent changes.
Non-medical masks and personal protective equipment (PPE)
Masks serve two purposes to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces: as source control to protect others from the individual wearing the mask, and as personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect the wearer. Not all masks are suitable for both purposes. The use of masks in agri-food workplaces is an important control which should be implemented in combination with other controls.
To learn more about PPE and source control masks, read Using Masks in the Workplace or the appropriate sections in the Guide to developing your workplace COVID-19 safety plan.
Check the Workplace PPE supplier directory, a list of over 200 companies that sell PPE such as masks, gloves, sanitizer and counter guards to keep yourself and your workers safe from COVID-19. The federal government also has a listing of organizations buying and selling PPE during COVID-19.
- The Agri-tech Innovation Program is a new $22-million cost-share program that will help farming operations and processor businesses adopt innovative and new technologies. The Early Adopters funding stream intake will support implementation of sector-specific, unique and innovative technologies in the workplace that enhance protection of workers against COVID-19, lead to increased business efficiencies and productivity, and help build the sector's resilience. Intake opens May 17, 2021 and closes June 21, 2021. Detailed program information and application form can be found here.
- Canadian Agricultural Partnership: offers cost-share funding to support farmer, processor, other businesses, sector organizations and strategic partnerships. Funding offered through the program is subject to change based on the timing of application intakes and the availability of funds.
- Ministry of Labour, Training & Skills Development (MLTSD):
- Agriculture & Agri-food Canada (AAFC)
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): CFIA information for industry (Canadian Food Inspection Agency)
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Awareness resources (Government of Canada)
For questions on workplace infection prevention and control related to COVID-19 infections, employers can contact local public health units.
Industry Partner Resources
- Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) COVID-19 Hub: contains critical information, resources, and updates to help employers ensure the safety of their workers during this time. WSPS is committed to protecting Ontario agriculture workers and businesses.
Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) COVID-19 page contains up-to-date
- Information for foreign agricultural workers and their employers available in English, French and Spanish
- Health and Safety Excellence Program provides businesses with material to help meet the challenges of operating safely during a pandemic
- Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) and Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety provide COVID-19 safety guidance and resources for agricultural temporary foreign workers.
Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association | COVID-19 Health and Safety
- COVID-19 Resource Library for International Agricultural Workers and Employers: comprehensive list of COVID-19 resources to support international agricultural workers and employers in Ontario during the pandemic. Many resources in the library are available in English, Spanish, and Thai.
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300