The Ontario government, along with the agri-food industry, has developed a comprehensive strategy to stop COVID-19 transmission and protect agriculture workers ahead of next year’s growing season, the government says in a news release on Nov. 16.
“Ontario’s agri-food sector has worked hard to address a difficult situation and our new strategy will help them to be even more effective in controlling this pandemic, protect our food supply chain and keep workers safe,” Ernie Hardeman, Ontario minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, says in the release.
Earlier this summer a group, including representatives from the ag industry, was formed to establish best best practices and actions for the prevention and control of COVID-19 transmission in the agriculture and horticulture sector, particularly on farms. Immediate actions where taken, while a more comprehensive strategy was developed for the 2021 growing season, the release notes.
The resulting joint government-industry Prevention, Control and Outbreak Support Strategy for COVID-19 in Ontario’s Farm Workers, provides guiding principles and actions on how to ensure enhanced prevention and control on farm operations, farm worker safety and wellness, and maintaining the sustainability and viability of the agri-food sector.
The strategy is founded on three pillars related to prevention and containment:
- Before getting on the farm
- On the farm
- Farm worker housing
It contains 35 actions and recognizes all partners have a role to play in preventing and controlling COVID-19 outbreaks on farms, the release says. Some of the actions and strategies from it are already in use on farms.