35 Recommendation Action Plan for Agri-Farm Sector
The provincial government has announced what it calls a comprehensive strategy to prevent COVID-19 transmission among workers in the agri-fram sector.
Speaking from Kingsville on Monday morning, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ernie Hardeman, said the partnership with the agri-food industry is meant to protect workers and the province's food supply chain ahead of next year's growing season.
Hardeman says it's in everybody's best interest for workers to stay healthy.
"We want to take what we have learned and prepare so we can do more to protect our agri-food workers," he says. "So I have assembled an agri-food organization along with my ministry, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour Training Skills and Development in a great spirit of collaboration."
According to Hardeman, the strategy will go a long way to prevent and control outbreaks over the next year's growing season.
"We need to sustain our communications with a support to farmers and agri-food businesses to make sure they are well informed and well prepared on the best practices for worker safety.
During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hardeman says it became abundantly clear there needed to be a better system in place, especially for testing.
"We realized that there was a challenge on getting people tested and the answer in my mind is, the more we can test, the sooner we can test, the smaller the outbreak will be if there is one."
The province says the strategy is founded on three pillars related to prevention and containment: before getting on the farm; on the farm; and farm worker housing.
It contains 35 actions and recognizes that all partners have a role to play in preventing and controlling COVID-19 outbreaks on farms.
Actions include industry and farmers to consider how to redesign workplaces and how their work is done, to enable physical distancing, appropriate barriers and frequent cleaning, as well as farmers and workers to ensure regular and appropriate cleaning and disinfection of living spaces, eating spaces and washroom, and the provision of appropriate supplies