COVID-19 Resources for Farmers and Workers

Stay Safe During COVID-19

Resources and best practices for agricultural health and safety during COVID-19

Provincial guidelines

If your workplace employs temporary foreign workers, they're required to follow certain obligations when entering Canada from abroad, including self-isolation. For more information, visit:

For questions, call Environmental Health at 905-688-8248, press 7, then press 3.

Community Supports

Quest Community Health Centre provides primary health care services to migrant agricultural workers.

Watch COVID-19 and Migrant Agricultural Workers / COVID-19 y trabajadores agrícolas migrantes.

Learn about other community and social services.

Procedures for Newly Arriving Temporary Foreign Workers

The following procedures for newly arriving workers must be followed and special isolation accommodations must be ready for the temporary foreign workers who are arriving.

Checklists

Print and share the following checklists:

Housing

Employers must house self-isolating workers in accommodations that are separate from those not required to self-isolate.

  • Workers can be housed together, if they're able to keep a physical distance of two metres apart
  • Ensure housing accommodations allow workers to maintain at least two metres of distance, at all times in recreational / common spaces, kitchen, washrooms, eating areas and sleeping. For example, beds need to be at least two metres apart. This may require you to remove or rearrange furniture to maintain distance.
  • The addition of physical barriers can be considered where distancing of two metres cannot be maintained. Before purchasing or installation, consult with local municipalities and the fire department to discuss any restrictions related to location and material.
  • Ensure there is adequate airflow throughout the housing area, accomplished by opening of screened windows or air conditioning. Air conditioner units and filters must be maintained as per the manufacturer's directions for use.
  • Each housing unit must adhere to a daily cleaning and disinfecting schedule. Use the daily cleaning log to make sure all areas are regularly cleaned and disinfected.
  • While self-isolating, the employer must make sure that accommodations allow for the worker to avoid contact with older adults (65 years and over) and those with medical conditions who are at risk of developing serious illness
  • If new workers are housed for self-isolation in the same accommodation as others who are self-isolating, the clock resets for the 14 day isolation period to the day the most recent worker arrived
  • Signage should be provided and displayed in common areas, such as kitchens, living rooms and bathrooms, about proper hand hygiene, and cough and sneeze etiquette. Provide these resources in the workers preferred language.
  • Perform daily health checks on all workers (both seasonal and from the local community). Use the daily health check log to keep track of each worker's health status. Keep these logs on file to refer to at a later date if necessary.

We recommend that you take date-stamped photos of the facilities showing compliance so that you can send to your public health inspector if requested.

Accommodations for Isolation of New Arrivals and Sick Workers

Have a plan in place for your new arrivals and workers who may become ill.

  • For temporary accommodations where workers have to be isolated, portable R/Vs and trailers are an option. However, physical distancing must remain in place in both sleeping and living areas.
  • Portable R/Vs and trailers are temporary options unless approval has been given by Service Canada
  • Newly arriving workers are to be self-isolated, away from workers who have already completed their 14 day isolation period or those who are in isolation due to illness

Contact the Environmental Health duty officer at ext. 7590 or email us to discuss plans before implementation.

Infection Prevention and Control Measures

  • Sanitation in housing accommodations

    Employers must ensure that workers have access to facilities that allow them to clean their hands often with soap and warm water. They must also provide soap, and an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water isn't available and hands aren't visibly soiled.

    Employers should also implement enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols in living quarters, work areas and other common areas immediately:

    • Clean all surfaces using commercially purchased multi-surface household cleaners
    • If using a disinfectant, only use those which have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an eight digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it's approved for use in Canada.
    • Check the expiry date of cleaning products before using them and always follow manufacturer's instructions
    • Frequently touched surfaces are more likely to be contaminated. Surfaces that have frequent contact with hands should be cleaned and disinfected at least twice per day and when visibly dirty. Examples of frequently touched surfaces include doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, sink tap handles, bedside tables, counters, tables, chairs, hand rails, buffet utensils, touch screen surfaces, cell phones, TV or radio remotes, and keypads.
    • Food within seasonal housing accommodations should be protected from contamination at all times. This may include safe distancing or ensuring guards or coverings for food and utensils.
    • Ensure all hand wash sinks are supplied with soap and paper towels
  • Workplace sanitation

    Employers always have an obligation to maintain clean worksites and that obligation is even more important to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

    • Allow employees to properly clean their hands during the workday by providing access to soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
    • Have all employees and visitors clean their hands thoroughly with soap and water before entering the workplace and after contact with surfaces others have touched
    • Encourage handwashing before breaks and at shift changes
    • Clean and disinfect washroom facilities regularly
    • Sanitize commonly touched surfaces and shared equipment where sharing of equipment cannot be avoided
    • Post hygiene instructions in English or other workplace languages so everyone can understand how to do their part
  • Physical distancing in the workplace

    Physical distancing is required to control the spread of COVID-19.

    Here's some tips employers can use to help workers maintain physical distancing in the workplace:

    • Maintain distance between workers during transport. Post maintain space during transport signage inside vehicles as a reminder
    • Where possible, stagger start times, shifts, breaks and lunch times
    • Restrict the number of people on-site and where they're assigned to work
    • Control site movement by limiting the potential for workers to gather
    • Limit the number of people working in one space at the same time. Post this physical distancing signage around the workplace as a reminder.
    • Minimize the number of people using each piece of equipment in instances where sharing equipment cannot be avoided
    • Hold meetings outside or in a large space
    • Install barriers, such as plexiglass, between workers where practical

    Tell workers that socializing or travelling around the farm or in public spaces in groups of 10 or more is not permitted and may be enforced by local law or by-law enforcement.

  • Workers with COVID-19

    If you believe one of your workers may have COVID-19 contact the COVID-19 Info-Line at 905-688-8248, press 7, then press 2.

    If one of your workers has tested positive for the disease, guidance will be provided by Niagara Health and / or by the public health professional monitoring your case.

    Employers must report temporary farm workers / employees testing positive to the Ministry of Labour as well as public health.

  • Resources

Barriers in Temporary Farm Worker Housing

Consult with the fire and building department of your local municipality to ensure the construction or installation of barriers / partitions don't violate building or fire codes creating an unsafe environment for the workers.

Barriers (partitions) serve three infection prevention and control critical functions. They are to:

  • Stop the spread of respiratory droplets. The COVID-19 virus transmits from person to person through coughing and sneezing, just like the common cold or flu.
  • Re-enforce physical distancing requirements (staying two metres away from others), even when workers are unwilling or forgetful
  • Reduce reliance on face coverings / masks, both due to the shortage of these items and user comfort. However, if staff or clients are unmasked on opposite sides of the barriers, it's essential that the barrier has been designed, installed and maintained so that it effectively prevents the co-mingling of respiratory droplets and aerosols produced by both parties.

Design

Barriers / partitions should be designed and installed with functionality in mind. They should also include a 30 cm radius around the user's head known as the breathing zone. The partition should be as high and wide as possible without compromising safety or airflow in the room. It's strongly recommended that windows are left open or a ventilation system is used to maximize fresh air in sleeping areas.

Cleaning and disinfecting

Clean barriers / partitions on the same frequency that other areas of the room and house are cleaned. Partitions should be made of material that's easy to clean.

COVID-19 Resources for Workers

All temporary foreign workers who enter Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic from another country will need to undergo necessary health checks and must isolate themselves for 14 days upon arrival in Canada. Take some time to read the information provided by your employer.

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