The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) calls the announcement of a provincial action plan to stop COVID-19 outbreaks in Windsor-Essex in a critical next step in building a robust infection mitigation and management structure in the region.
The announcement includes three measures:
- Ongoing and expanded on-site testing
- Access to employment benefits and supports
- New public health guidance
These measures build on regional efforts to ensure that the sector can continue to deliver a trusted testing system for all agri-food employees, with a mix of on-farm and assessment center protocols to all farm employees.
OGVG and its partners have been making progress with enhanced testing. As of mid-day on June 25, it was estimated that nearly 23% of greenhouse vegetable acreage in Essex county has undergone testing, with another 39% committed for the upcoming days. This is in addition to testing that has occurred in the other sub-sectors of agriculture in the region.
The clarity for employees and employers regarding support for those impacted by positive tests is a crucial step in enhancing trust among agri-food employees and ensuring their well-being will be taken care of, according to the OGVG.
Similarly, the expanded on-site testing will bring additional testing capacity to the region in a way that further builds trust and confidence across the agri-food sector and in the community. "We understand the frustration felt by the communities of Kingsville and Leamington and we assure you that we are taking all steps to ensure we can move forward into Phase two as quickly as possible", the OGVG shares in a statement.
Finally, the updated public health guidance will bring greater clarity as to the best management protocols for case management in the agri-food sector to ensure both public health and food supply objectives are met.
OGVG and its partners are also working to step up the compliance and enforcement capacity within the region to address contraventions and to develop enhanced requirements for contract employees and the agencies that manage them.
“We are grateful for the ongoing support from the provincial government in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Together with our municipal, health and community partners we continue to put the health, safety and well-being of our workers, farm families and our community at the core of everything we do”, said Mr. Joseph Sbrocchi, General Manager, OGVG.
For more information:
Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers