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Ontario: Community success with greenhouse worker vaccination education

The Workplace Wellness for Agri-Food Workers Task force, a collaboration of 16 community partners, are highlighting the success of COVID-19 education and vaccination of temporary foreign workers in the Ontario region. Recognizing that Temporary Foreign Workers are a very important part of the Windsor-Essex community, the core of this collaboration was formed pre-pandemic as a community effort to improve health care supports for temporary foreign workers in the region.

Through this collaboration, partners have worked on a number of health-related initiatives including vaccination education and promotion for Temporary Foreign Workers and Employers. Over 5000 temporary foreign workers were vaccinated with their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at the Nature Fresh Recreation Centre Clinics (April 28st to May 6th, 2021) and at the 2-day outdoor pop-up clinics (May 20th and 21st, 2021). Agriculture workers can continue to receive their first dose locally at one of the mass vaccination clinics.

Over 130 farms scheduled vaccinations for their temporary foreign workers, while also coordinating transportation, providing educational materials, and addressing vaccine confidence. These efforts are in addition to existing COVID-19 procedures that have been implemented since the onset of the pandemic. These collective efforts have helped workers and healthcare providers overcome language barriers during the vaccination process through on-site volunteers, as well as the use of We Speak, a language access initiative established in Windsor-Essex that gives providers access to on-demand professional interpretation by phone or video.

The Migrant Worker Community Program (MWCP) also assisted by providing 20 volunteers at the WECHU led COVID-19 vaccine pop-up clinics in Leamington on May 20 and 21, 2021. Their volunteers helped to promote the clinics and provide translation support during the vaccination process for participants. Additional translations and support were provided by C.A.R.E for International Workers and their community partners (The Consulate of Mexico in Leamington, The Windsor-Essex Bilingual Legal Clinic, The Neighborhood Organization, Migrant Worker Community Program and the Temple la Buena Semilla), who hosted an information table and also provided over 140 welcome bags at the Nature Fresh Mass Vaccination Clinic for two weeks.

“This has been an incredibly collaborative effort. The WECHU is grateful for the cooperation and partnership of all stakeholders to ensure that temporary foreign workers in our community have access to credible information and resources, in their language and that barriers are removed to ensure vaccinations are truly accessible. They say it takes a village, this effort is a great example of what can be achieved when we come together toward one goal," said Dr. Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health, WECHU

“The Migrant Worker Community Program is honored to have been a partner in this important initiative. The MWCP is focused on supporting all visiting workers to be safe from the threat of Covid-19, from language assistance to culturally inclusive Covid-19 information to offering resources for collaborative initiatives such as this one hosted by WECHU. Only through collaborative and sustained efforts such as these will the Windsor Essex region be able to continue to offer a safe, productive and welcoming atmosphere for all of our visiting workers who are crucial to the continued success of our region. We would like to extend our thanks to WE LIP, OGVG, C.A.R.E. Organizations and the WECHU for offering us the opportunity to participate and our staff and volunteers for helping us to be part of this successful event," said Martin Varela, Chair, Migrant Worker Community Program

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Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers


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