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Farms & Temporary Foreign Workers
During the peak growing season, there are approximately 8,000 -10,000 seasonal workers employed at one of 176 farms in Windsor-Essex County.
COVID-19 Vaccination and Travel Information
Information about vaccine clinics and travel requirements
Procedures for Newly Arriving Temporary Foreign Workers
View obligations for employers and newly arriving workers.
- The employer must house self-isolating workers in accommodations that are separate from those not subject to self-isolation. Review the Self-Isolation Plan Checklist  for more information.
- Workers can be housed together, but it must enable them to maintain a physical distance of 2 metres apart (e.g., beds need to be at least 2 meters apart).
- Shared facilities (e.g., bathroom, kitchen, living space) are allowed, but must have sufficient space to allow workers to follow self distance requirements.
- Each housing unit must adhere to a daily cleaning and disinfecting schedule. Use the Daily Cleaning Log to ensure that all areas are undergoing regular cleaning.
- For the duration of the self-isolation period, the employer must ensure that the accommodation does not prevent the worker from avoiding contact with older adults (65+) 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 to the day the most recent worker arrived.
- It is recommended that date-stamped photos be taken of the facilities to demonstrate compliance and sent to their Public Health Inspector upon request.
- Informational posters should be provided and displayed in the accommodation common areas (e.g. kitchen, living room, and bathrooms) about proper hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette. Provide these resources in the workers preferred language.
Daily health checks should take place for all workers. Use the Daily Health Check Log  to keep track of each worker’s health status.
Just like all Canadians, the employer is asked to report any violation to the Quarantine Act on the part of a self-isolating worker to local law enforcement.
All owners/operators of agricultural farms in Windsor-Essex County who:
a. Employ migrant farm workers in any capacity.
b. Participate in the federal Temporary Foreign Worker program (TFW).
c. Operate any model of seasonal housing accommodations
must comply with the Class Order dated October 6, 2020 by Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. This order requires several safety protocols related to the work environment, screening protocols, measures to facilitate contact tracing and ensure effective communication with workers, and requirements for isolation.
The full list of responsibilities and actions can be seen in the Class Order.
In addition to the requirements in the Order, all newly arriving TFWs who enter Canada by air or land must have their health checked and must isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Canada. The 14-day isolation period is mandatory even if workers show no symptoms and workers are not to be performing any work duties during this time other than cleaning and disinfecting of their accommodations.
All non-essential employee travel and non-essential visitors including suppliers and vendors should be stopped until further notice. Post signage at the farm entrance to discourage unexpected visitors from entering the property.
Develop a Self Isolation Plan and an Emergency Response Plan
Develop a self isolation plan and an emergency response plan to manage your workforce and enable employees to self-isolate  should someone exhibit symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. Due to the number of individuals who typically reside in seasonal housing accommodations, please note that this may require owners/operators to provide alternative housing arrangements for ill employees. Ensure that medical care is available to all employees if needed.
Adhere to Infection Prevention and Control Best Practices
The employer must ensure that workers have access to facilities that allow them to wash their hands often with soap and warm water, providing soap, and providing an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly soiled.
The employer should also ensure that enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols are being implemented 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 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is 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 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, 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.
- Provide computer access to allow for online shopping and delivery, including medication delivery.
- Provide grocery/meal delivery options, Click-and-Collect, etc.
- Arrange for online banking options to complete international money transfers. Ensure computer access to employees to facilitate this. Develop a schedule to prevent large groups attempting to use the computer at the same time.
- Encouraging the use of Telehealth, Ontario Telemedicine Network OTN  and online and phone health services if needed.
- Encourage employees to designate shoppers who can collect supplies for several workers or coordinate the shopping for everyone.
- Inform workers of the potential that law enforcement officers may take steps to disperse groups of individuals including workers in public spaces.
Encourage your workforce to download the HUB Connect App for ongoing updates and select Ontario if their region is not listed.
The employer must regularly monitor the health of workers who are self-isolating, as well as any employee who becomes ill after the self-isolation period.
- During the self-isolation period, the employer must communicate with workers daily by call, text, e-mail, or in-person (if no other option is available, while maintaining a 2-meter physical distance), and ask if he/she is experiencing any symptoms. A record of responses should be maintained. Use the Daily Health Check Log to keep track of each worker’s health status.
- If a worker develops symptoms at any point, the employer must immediately arrange for the worker to be fully isolate from others and call the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (519) 258 – 2146
Employers should implement passive and active screening measures at the farm.
Passive screening involves posting up signage around the farm and living areas related to COVID-19. Signs should be:
- Clear, visible and in multiple languages if necessary
- Should have information about signs and symptoms of COVID-19, hand hygiene, and cough and sneeze etiquette.
Active screening involves setting up a screening station/table with a staff member who will verbally ask workers about any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and provide guidance if there are any reported illnesses. Screening activities should be focused on TFWs and should be done on a regular basis throughout the day.
- Symptomatic workers should be instructed to immediately isolate themselves.
- Workers and the employer should use the online self-assessment tool for instructions on seeking further care.
- Active screening stations must be set up in a way that ensure a minimum 2 metre distance is maintained between workers and the screener.
- Hand sanitizer should be available at the screening table.
Read the Ministry of Ontario guidance document for further details on setting up an active screening station.