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Ontario announces funding for COVID-19 safety measures for producers

OMAFRA is now accepting applications from producers to help support workplace health and safety in the agri-food sector.

May 15, 2020  By Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs & Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $2.25 million launching the second intake of the Agri-food Workplace Protection Program, this time to help producers enhance health and safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

Funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), the funding will be used for initiatives like purchasing personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and redesigning workstations.

Each project is eligible for up to $7,500, cost-shared at 70 per cent. There is a limit of one project per eligible business, per farm property, and expenses must be incurred on or after March 15, 2020. Eligible expenses include:

  • Minor capital (physical/infrastructure) and temporary or permanent modifications (e.g., reconfigurations, shielding, barriers) and rental of temporary structures to enable workers to practice social distancing
  • Personal protective equipment for staff (e.g., masks, gloves and other protective gear)
  • Medical equipment (e.g., body temperature remote sensors, thermometers and cameras; COVID-related testing equipment)
  • Services (e.g., services to perform medical checks)
  • Cleaning/disinfection to increase frequency and extent of cleaning (e.g., equipment, cleaning supplies, and/or third-party cleaning services)

Support is also available for farmers who experience unexpected costs for housing and transportation as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak among on-farm employees. This includes:

  • Short-term accommodations (e.g., hotel, dorm rentals, cleaning and sanitation supplies) to enable social distancing best practices and allow workers to attend workplaces to the limit of $80.00 per day per employee
  • Work-site mobility and transportation to enable employees to access the work site while practicing social distancing best practices to the limit of $60.00 per day per employee

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is now accepting applications and will expedite the approval process to help support workplace health and safety in the agri-food sector. Eligible applications will be received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available.

To be eligible to apply under the Agri-food Workplace Protection Program for producers, applicant’s must:

  • Read, understand and agree to abide by all requirements set out in the Terms and Conditions located here, as well as all requirements given in the Project Category Description
  • Be an established farm business that is a legal entity and produces agricultural commodities in Ontario under a valid Farm Business Registration Number (FBRN), or an allowable exemption.
  • The farm business must involve intensive use of labour where employees may operate within close proximity of one another, or where the operator is responsible for accommodating workers on- or off-site.
  • Be in compliance with all Requirements of Law and agree to remain in compliance with all Requirements of Law for the duration of the project

“We care deeply about the well being of farmers and are supporting the investments already being made on farms to keep employees safe,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “This additional support will help Ontario farmers quickly adopt new on-farm measures and practices that follow the best public health guidance, so they can continue to focus on their critical work of feeding Canadians.”

For complete details about this targeted intake, visit the OMAFRA site or call 1-877-424-1300.

Editor’s note: This initiative initially only accepted expenses incurred on or after May 14, 2020. It was revised to include expenses incurred on or after March 15, 2020.

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