Announced on May 14, the Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program is now primed with $2.25 million so that Ontario farmers can defray expenses for personal protective equipment (PPE). Other eligible expenses include enhanced cleaning and disinfection products, and adapting work areas and living spaces to ensure physical distancing to keep essential frontline workers safe.
“The health and safety of farm workers is of utmost importance to all fruit and vegetable growers and this funding will help us ensure we can continue to safely provide food for Canadians,” says OFVGA chair Bill George. “Like many other Canadian businesses, the pandemic has burdened growers with unexpected additional expenses for everything from quarantining and housing workers to adapting equipment and modifying workflows, and this support is a really great start by the federal and provincial governments to help us cover some of those costs.”
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is now accepting applications through its Agri-food Workplace Protection Program, which is part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Link here: https://bit.ly/3fRsYyn
Eligible expenses can be incurred on or after May 14, 2020. The 70% cost-share program allows expenses up to $7,500 per farm.
“We welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with both levels of government to re-assess and re-evaluate ongoing needs for fruit and vegetable growers and the sector’s value chain as the pandemic continues to unfold,” he adds.
The OFVGA continues to closely monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on fruit and vegetable growers and the edible horticulture value chain, and has provided both an assessment and detailed recommendations to the federal and provincial governments.
The organization has been asking for two measures in particular: a COVID-19 rider on top of current AgriStability programming to provide supplemental coverage to the base program, and a highly targeted, standalone quarantine support program modeled after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Animal Health Compensation program. More details are available here
Source: Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association May 14, 2020 news release.