Ontario’s fruit and vegetable farmers are calling on government to help support them in their efforts to keep farm workers safe.
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) says that the province’s farmers have taken an active role in preventing further outbreaks of COVID-19 in farm settings, including ensuring that workers have access to testing, are paid fairly, have access to health care and benefits and are housed safely.
“The safety of agricultural workers is a top priority for us and to enable early detection of the virus in the workforce, we need to ensure ongoing, proactive testing,” says Bill George, chair of the OFVGA. “It’s vital that government and local health authorities work with the fruit and vegetable sector to continue collective efforts to manage outbreaks and keep farm workers safe.”
The sector is calling on government and local health authorities to support farmers with several issues, including better access to testing and financial support for farmers impacted by COVID-19 that have been ordered to shut down.
“During the pandemic, domestic food security is more important than ever, and therefore we must all work together to protect the food system and our essential agri-food workers” stated George. “Recent outbreaks have also illustrated why the government needs to ensure workers and growers are protected financially.”