Increased investment to further protect the health and safety of farms and farm workers
Our PC government is committed to ensuring farm workers can do their jobs safely, and that they are able to continue to provide Ontario families with safe, high-quality food.
That’s why, together with the federal government, we are investing an additional $11.6 million to help support efforts by Ontario producers to stop the spread of COVID-19 on their farms. This includes actions like building physical barriers for worker separation, upgrading HVAC systems and enhancing hand-washing facilities.
Under the Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program, the amount farmers can claim for preventive expenses including a combination of workplace modifications, PPE, transportation, and temporary housing will double to $15,000. The program will also include a new category for small capital projects of up to $100,000 for housing modifications, workplace modifications and equipment to allow greater physical distancing for workers.
This added funding for enhanced worker and workplace safety builds on numerous government actions taken this year to support Ontario farms and other agri-food sector businesses, including:
- Helping agri-food sectors cover the incremental costs associated with the mandatory 14-day isolation period through $50 million in federal funding for the Mandatory Isolation Support Program for Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW).
- Investing up to $77.5 million through the federal Emergency Processing Fund to help companies implement changes to safeguard the health and safety of workers due to the impacts of COVID-19.
- Increasing funding for the Ontario Risk Management Program by $50 million starting in 2020 to help farmers enrolled in the program deal with the severe market challenges resulting from COVID-19.
- Increasing the amounts farmers can receive in AgriStability interim payments to 75 per cent of their estimated final payment to help with cash flow.
- Building a Canada-Ontario AgriRecovery program for hog and cattle to help cover increased costs of feeding market-ready animals due to COVID-19 related processing delays.
- Enhancing the AgriInsurance coverage to include labour shortages due to COVID-19 during the 2020 growing season.
- Launching an online toolkit with information on prevention, accommodations, wages, social, health and wellness assessments, and social supports that are available to farmers and their workers.
- Providing red-tape relief by extending more than 20 licenses or permit regulations covering the agri-food sector during the period covered by COVID-19 emergency orders.
Ontario’s agri-food businesses and their hardworking employees play a critical role in keeping our food supply chain strong and our PC government is doing everything we can to help support them.