COVID-19: Resources for the agri-food industry

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is working closely with stakeholders and other partners to support the safety of Ontario's farmers, agri-food workers and Ontario's food supply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For information specific to food processors, visit COVID-19: Resources for food processors and Provincial and Federal COVID-19 Financial Supports for Food Processors.

Funding

  • As the province continues its path forward through COVID-19, the Government of Ontario is expanding the Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program to help more agri-food businesses guard against the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and support worker/employee health and safety.

    As of November 17, 2021, changes to the Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program will include:

    An extended application deadline to February 1, 2022, or until funding is fully allocated in the following two categories:

    1. Under the Workplace COVID-19 Prevention category, eligible applicants can claim 60 per cent funding of eligible expenses to help support the adoption of prevention and mitigation measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among agri-food workers/employees. Program updates in this category include:
      • An increased amount of cost-share funding for eligible expenses up to a total of $50,000 from the current $15,000 maximum. The cost-share will continue to be 60% of the eligible expenses.
      • Expanded eligibility to include food and beverage processors with three or more employees, agri-food industry organizations/associations, and poultry catchers/vaccinators and professional barn cleaners.
      • Expansion of eligible costs to include extraordinary worker housing costs associated with COVID-19 retrofits or minor capital updates for covid prevention. For example, temporary or permanent modifications to employer provided housing such as a new/upgraded COVID-19 related air circulation and filtration system, as a modification or an upgrade.
    2. Under the Responsive COVID-19 Outbreak Management category, eligible applicants who have been impacted by outbreaks of COVID-19 and faced with extraordinary costs related to employee wage supports and worker/employee isolation and extended quarantine period can claim up to 100 per cent funding of eligible expenses. Program updates in this category include:
      • Expanded eligibility to include poultry catchers/vaccinators and professional barn cleaners.
      • Expansion of eligible expenses to include extraordinary costs resulting from an extended COVID-19 quarantine period beyond 14 days.

    To learn more about eligibility, please visit: Guidelines for the Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program.

  • The Agri-tech Innovation Program is a $22-million cost-share program that will help farming operations and processor businesses adopt innovative and new technologies.
    • The Early Adopters funding stream supports implementation of sector-specific, unique and innovative technologies in the workplace that enhance protection of workers against COVID-19, lead to increased business efficiencies and productivity, and help build the sector's resilience. Intake opened May 17, 2021 and closed June 21, 2021.
    • The Innovator Stream is the targeted second phase of the Agri-tech Innovation Program to provide funding to develop larger-scale collaboration projects aimed at enhancing the health and safety of workers and increasing productivity. The Innovator Stream intake focuses on ground-breaking projects where innovation is new to Ontario, North America or the agri-sector. Intake opened August 19, 2021 and will close September 27, 2021. Detailed program information and application form can be found here.
  • Governments are providing financial support to help farmers and agri-food workplaces manage and identify transmission risks to protect their workforces from COVID-19. Through Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS), farmers and agri-food businesses can access professional advice and consulting services to help them with their COVID-19 needs.Your workplace may be eligible for two days of services tailored to your needs (worth $2,000 - paid for by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership). Available until February 28, 2022.
    • The following workplaces are eligible:
      • Employers, farm sector organizations and farm associations
      • Provincially licensed meat plants
      • Other food processors who employ 1-49 employees
    • Please reach out to WSPS by:
  • Canadian Agricultural Partnership: offers cost-share funding to support farmer, processor, other businesses, sector organizations and strategic partnerships. Funding offered through the program is subject to change based on the timing of application intakes and the availability of funds.
  • Provincial and Federal COVID-19 Financial Supports for Farmers: summary of federal and provincial support programs for Ontario's Producers. The information is current as of the publication date; however, it may be subject to frequent changes.

Prevention, Control and Best Practices

Government Partners

For questions on workplace infection prevention and control related to COVID-19 infections, employers can contact local public health units.

Industry Partner Resources

Sector Specific COVID-19 Resources


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca