Enhanced agri-food workplace protection program
The Government of Ontario is investing up to $15 million to expand a program which helps support the agri-food sector and better protect workers during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program will help more operations, including farms, to take additional measures, to improve health and safety for their workers and ensure the continued supply of healthy food, during the COVID-19 outbreak. Farmers and other operations have access to cost-share funding, to help enhance health and safety measures for employees, such as: purchasing personal protective equipment, medical testing equipment, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and temporary or permanent modifications to enhance physical distancing. In response to feedback, we have made a number of changes to this program, to ensure it works effectively, to support farmers in their effort to take preventative measures, ensure safe work places and care for ill workers. Enhancements to the program include: Project costs incurred on or after March 15th, 2020 will now be eligible; To simplify the program and provide assistance faster, reimbursement eligiblility for expenses will not require pre-approval, up to the maximum per eligible business/per property, as long as funding is available; Operations that provide off-farm packing services (i.e. cooling, storing, washing, sorting, packing), for products such as fruit and vegetables, as well as organizations that offer corn detasseling services; Support for producers and other operations to assist with costs for short-term accommodation and transportation related to preventive measures, as well as those incurred in addressing an illness or outbreak.