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Farms & International Agriculture 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.

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Case and Contact Management and Outbreak Guidance

The following information is current as of June 14, 2022

Please review the following guidance documents from the Ministry of Ontario:

Key highlights include:

  1. Owners/operators are responsible for individual COVID-19 case and contact management following the most current provincial guidance. This includes identifying COVID-19 cases and disease spread amongst Seasonal International Agriculture Workers (IAWs).
  2. Owners/Operators must report to the Health Unit when there is an outbreak as defined by:
    1. One confirmed case (i.e., by PCR or rapid molecular or antigen test) among a resident of an employer-provided housing, OR
    2. Two confirmed cases (i.e., by PCR or rapid molecular or antigen test) in workers or any other person working on or visiting an agri-food setting with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the Agri-food setting.
  3. With the employee’s consent, owners/operators should notify the Health Unit if an employee who lives in employer providing housing test positive on a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and did not receive a PCR confirmatory test. 
  4. Up-to-date COVID-19 Isolation plans should continue to be made available to the WECHU upon request. Please note that isolation accommodations no longer require inspection from the Health Unit prior to occupancy. 
  5. Third-party regulated health professionals (a physician or nurse) who are providing care to a person must report to the WECHU (per the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA)) if they are of the opinion that the person has or may have COVID-19 This includes facilitating voluntary health assessments as described below:

Confirmed Cases and Symptomatic Close Contacts (Probable case)

Asymptomatic (case)

Symptomatic wellᴵ (case or close contact)

Symptomatic unwell² (case or close contact)

At a minimum, one daily virtual assessment to identify symptoms

One virtual assessment for the duration of the isolation period.
For worsening symptoms, at a minimum, one daily in-person assessment for the duration of the isolation period with an escalation process for referral to a healthcare provider and or clinic

Twice daily in-person assessments per day, for the duration of the isolation period, with an escalation process for referral

Asymptomatic Close Contacts

Asymptomatic

Asymptomatic AND Fully Vaccinated and Boosted

At a minimum, one daily virtual assessment for the isolation period.
•If symptoms develop, at a minimum one in-person assessment per day with an escalation process for referral

Do not require health assessments if:

  • They have previously tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days;
  • They are 18 years old or older
  • Are at a minimum, self-monitoring for symptoms.

ᴵ Mild symptoms, normal vital signs, other than temperature
² Abnormal vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, Sp02 reading, respiratory rate, lung sounds, and temperature)
 
Note: The WECHU has provided a sample template for documenting and reporting the third party health assessments for farm owners/operators with the employee’s consent (see Sample Tracking tool for Daily Health Assessment of IAW ).

Referrals to the Isolation and Recovery Centre (IRC)

The farm owner/operator is responsible for isolating the IAW(s) to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The farm owner/operator must exhaust all measures to find isolation space for this individual. If all options have been exhausted and a space is not available, the farm owner/operator can contact the WECHU for a referral to the Isolation & Recovery Center (IRC).

The IRC will assist IAWs who fall into one of the following groups:

  • positive case or cases
  • any symptomatic close contacts
  • any case or close contacts that is unvaccinated
  • if the farm operator is unable to secure isolation anywhere else in the community (city/county or surrounding area)

Farm operators/owners may contact the WECHU at 519-258-2146, ext. 2264 to speak with a Case Investigator about the IRC requirements. If the IAW is eligible, the WECHU Case Investigator will complete the referral to the IRC.

Alternate contact by email: covidfarms@wechu.org


Vaccination Information

The COVID-19 vaccine is free to anyone living in Ontario, including international agriculture workers.

Employers of international agriculture workers play an important role in ensuring that workers are educated about the COVID-19 vaccine and are supported to receive it.


Travel Information

Information for Entering Canada

For all information about, and requirements for travel, visit https://travel.gc.ca/.

 

Pre-Arrival Test
(Pre-Flight)

Day 1 Test*

Day 8 Test

Quarantine
(14 Days)

Fully Vaccinated IAW

Not required

Randomly selected upon arrival

Not required

Not required

Unvaccinated IAW

Required

Required

Required

Required

*If a traveller tests positive on-arrival, they must isolate away from others immediately.

Fully Vaccinated

Travellers are eligible to enter or return to Canada if they qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller. Fully vaccinated travellers have:

  • Received at least 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccines accepted for travel*
    • Or at least 1 dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine
  • Received their second dose at least 14 days before entering Canada
  • No signs or symptoms of COVID-19
  • Followed pre-entry testing and entry requirements.

Vaccines accepted by the Government of Canada for the purpose of travel to and within Canada:

  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
  • Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson
  • Medicago Covifenz
  • Moderna (Spikevax, mRNA-1273) including for children aged 6 to 11 years
  • Novavax (NVX-COV2373, Nuvaxovid, Covovax)
  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2) including for children aged 5 to 11 years
  • Sinopharm BIBP (BBIBP-CorV)
  • Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)

To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, you must have received at least 14 calendar days prior to the day you travel:

  • at least 2 doses of a vaccine accepted by the Government of Canada for the purpose of travel
  • or a mix of 2 accepted vaccines
  • or at least 1 dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine

**If the proof of vaccination is not in English or French, a certified translation to English or French is required. The certified translation must include the stamp or membership number of a professional translation association.

Not Fully Vaccinated

International agriculture workers (IAWs) who are not fully vaccinated will likely be allowed to enter Canada. However, unvaccinated workers will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Employers are reminded that they must support quarantine plans for all unvaccinated IAWs.

For more information on who can come to Canada, isolations requirements, and quarantining after travel, visit https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/isolation.


Resources

COVID-19: A Guide for Temporary Foreign Workers Travelling to Canada – Government of Canada

Travel to Canada: Requirements for COVID-19 Vaccinated Travellers – Government of Canada

Daily Cleaning Log – English | Spanish

Daily Health Check Log – English | Spanish


Information for Leaving Canada

Employers should support workers to research entry requirements for countries that the worker is arriving at, to ensure that any entry test requirements or documentation is prepared. Requirements, including types of tests and how long a test is valid for, will vary by country, so it is important to understand the exact requirements for each destination.

For guidance in determining requirements when planning flights, refer to IATA’s COVID Information Hub, select “Air Travel”, and the country the worker(s) will be traveling to. 

Note: Asymptomatic testing for TFWs/IAWs continues to be free in Ontario, even if for travel purposes. For details and testing locations, visit Ontario’s clinical assessments and testing webpage.


Testing

Unvaccinated new arrivals may be given a COVID-19 "Home Test Kit". The Home Test Kit is a self-administered COVID-19 test that must be completed as directed by the Canadian border official.

As of June 1, 2022, LifeLabs has replaced Switch Health as the service provider administering COVID-19 testing for all travellers, including International Agri-food Workers (IAWs) arriving in Ontario, Canada, including at airports and for Day 8 tests. For more information, please visit the LifeLabs website.

Questions?

To support employers and IAWs, LifeLabs has a 24 hour contact line available 7 days a week, along with a dedicated email address that is monitored from 7am to 11pm, 7 days a week:

  • Call: 1-877-313-4982 (24/7)
      • Choose option 1 for FlyClear.
      • Follow the prompts for Ontario, then Temporary Foreign Workers.
  • Email: flyclearcccescalations.ccc@lifelabs.com (7 days/week, 7am-11pm)
      • Subject line: TFW

The services are available in both official languages, as well as Spanish, Thai and Tagalog.


Resources

IAW/TFW Employer Responsibilities - English
IAW/TFW Employer Responsibilities - French


Information & Resources for Workers

The Public Health Agency of Canada has materials available in several languages, call 1-833-784-4397 or email phac.covid19.aspc@canada.ca