Ontario rolls out new strategy to prevent and contain COVID outbreaks on farms
By Greenhouse Canada
By Greenhouse Canada
The Ontario government announced a comprehensive strategy yesterday to help prevent and contain COVID-19 outbreaks in agri-food workplaces.
Entitled Prevention, Control and Outbreak Support Strategy for COVID-19 in Ontario’s Farm Workers, the strategy focuses on three key areas: before getting on the farm; on the farm; and farm worker housing. It contains 35 actions for all partners — governments at all levels, stakeholder organizations, farmers and workers — in preventing and controlling COVID-19 outbreaks on farms. Some have already started implementing the actions in the strategy.
Earlier this summer, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman established a sector leadership group composed of representatives from the agricultural industry to establish best practices and actions for the prevention and control of COVID-19 transmission in the agriculture and horticulture sector, particularly on farms. Immediate actions were taken by the leadership group to advise on best practices for reducing the spread of COVID-19, while this more comprehensive strategy was developed for the 2021 growing season.
Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers, and Flowers Canada (Ontario) were all part of the sector leadership group, among others.
“OGVG has worked tirelessly to help their members navigate the health, safety and economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Joe Sbrocchi, general manager of OGVG. “The continued commitment, support and collaborative engagement from the provincial government towards our businesses and workers in the agri-food sector is critical and welcome.”
“Taking a comprehensive and collaborative approach to mitigation and management of the COVID-19 crisis, along with immediate and longer-term support initiatives, is the most effective way to ensure a sustainable domestic food system,” said Justine Taylor, Science and Government Relations Manager. “Our members will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect their employees’ health and well-being while producing safe, local and healthy produce here in Ontario.”
Sources: Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers