New PPE Funding Initiative to Help Farmers and Agri-food Operators Keep Workers Safe During COVID-19
The Ontario government is providing $10 million to allow more farmers and agri-food operators to purchase personal protective equipment, enhance cleaning and disinfection and redesign workstations to better protect workers. This announcement is part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario's Action Plan: Protecting People's Health and Our Economy.
Under the new Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program, farms and agri-food businesses that hire three or more employees will be eligible for funding. Additional businesses and workers will be eligible including corn detasselers, transporters, hatcheries, and primary processing (e.g., cutting, cleaning, packaging, storage and refrigeration of raw plant foods to prevent food from spoiling before it reaches consumers).
The funding will help farmers who experience unexpected costs for short-term or temporary housing and transportation as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak among on-farm employees. In addition, increased flexibility has been built into the program to ensure it can respond to emerging issues and risks.
Detailed program information and application forms will be available when the intake opens on April 22, 2021 and cover costs retroactive to March 13, 2021. Applications will be accepted while funding is available or until November 30, 2021. The approval process has been simplified and will be expedited to help support workplace health and safety in the agri-food sector.