On-Farm Worker Safety Improvement Program

New - The deadline to submit eligible expenses has been extended. Eligible submissions for project costs incurred on or after March 15, 2020 are received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available or until March 12, 2021.

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The Governments of Ontario and Canada are providing support for necessary infrastructure to prevent or address impacts related to COVID-19.

Eligible submissions for project costs incurred on or after March 15, 2020 are received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available or until March 12, 2021.

Project Category

On-Farm Worker Safety Improvement Program

Funding for projects to make adjustments to operations as a result of COVID-19 to ensure worker safety.

Businesses Eligible to Submit Expenses

  • An established farm business that is a legal entity and produces agricultural commodities in Ontario under a valid Farm Business Registration Number (FBRN), or an allowable exemption. The farm business must involve intensive use of labour where workers may operate within close proximity of one another, or where the operator is responsible for providing workers with on- or off-site accommodations.
    • Aquaculture farm businesses are not eligible for funding under this project category for the On-Farm Worker Safety Improvement Program.

Available Cost-Share Funding

  • 60 per cent funding for projects of total value of $15,000 or more
  • Funding is limited to $100,000 per business
  • Funding is limited to $100,000 per property
  • The $100,000 limit is calculated based on the amount of all payments made under this project category (i.e., On-farm Worker Safety Improvement Program, under the Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program)

To Submit Expenses, an Eligible Business Must

  • Have a written plan that documents steps in place to limit the spread of disease throughout the operation. The written plan must be supported by the relevant union or health and safety committee, if applicable
  • Submit a copy of the written plan with the completed Submission Form
  • For more information about developing a COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan, you may wish to visit: Develop your COVID-19 workplace safety plan.

Eligible Activities

  1. Retrofit or adjustments to existing operations to cover extraordinary costs associated with COVID-19 to ensure worker safety;
    • Workspace adjustments to allow for proper safety measures and physical distancing;
    • Enhancement to required employer-provided housing for workers as a result of COVID-19 to ensure worker safety;
    • Support for temporary housing arrangements for workers in cases where existing facilities cannot adequately allow or be modified to allow for physical distancing;
  2. Training workers on COVID-19 safety protocols (e.g. interpretation, materials, external support.)

Eligible Expenses

Incremental expenses specifically required for the implementation of eligible activities that are:

  • incurred on or after March 15, 2020 invoiced and paid for prior to submission
  • procured through a transaction with a third-party that is at Arm's Length* from the business that incurred and paid for the expense
  • procured through a process that is transparent, fair and promotes the best value for the money expended at competitive prices no greater than fair market value after deducting available discounts

For the following expenses

Adjustments to operations as a result of COVID-19 to ensure worker safety:
  • Modifying work sites and accommodations to support worker safety related to COVID-19;
    • I. Purchase/rental/lease and installation of additional portable or relocatable buildings to be used for workspaces, on- or off-site housing, and ancillary buildings (e.g., washrooms, kitchens, laundry facilities) for workers,
    • II. Site modifications such as construction or renovation of buildings to support worker safety related to COVID-19
      • (Note: I and II do not include the cost of land or the costs of obtaining land and buildings)
  • Rental or lease of housing to support worker safety related to COVID-19
  • Added sanitation (cleaning and disinfection) and security requirements
  • Adjustments to current processes and processing stations to accommodate physical distancing
  • Adjustment to transportation to ensure physical distancing during movement within the operation or between accommodations and the operation.
    • III. Modifying vehicles (e.g. adding plexiglass barriers)
    • IV. Rental of vehicles
    • V. Cost of third-party transportation services
  • HVAC modifications or upgrades
  • Equipment such as safety barriers (e.g. Plexiglass dividers)
  • Site modifications and/or transportation for wellness checks
  • Disinfection and cleaning in the event of an outbreak
Non-disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) that were not part of normal operations before COVID-19
  • Body temperature screening/fever detection systems, including thermal scanners
  • Washing stations
  • Workstation dividers
  • Full and half facepiece respirators
  • Impact goggles and face shields
  • Face masks and coverings
  • Safety glasses
Cost related to worker training and safety protocols
  • Interpretation services
  • Training on COVID-19 protocols

*Arm's Length: an entity that is not related, not affiliated, or otherwise controlled by another member or members within the meaning of section 251 of the Income Tax Act (Canada). If you have any questions about whether a supplier meets this requirement, please contact OMAFRA at 1-877-424-1300.

Ineligible Expenses

  • Expenses to address usual business practices, expansion or any other non-COVID-19 related objectives. This includes bringing facilities up to standards that were in place before March 15, 2020
  • Expenses related to retail or other on-site sales activities
  • Expenses for activities/practices that are not in accordance with any standard or guideline of an appropriate authority (e.g., Ontario Ministry of Labour)
  • In-kind contributions
  • Purchase of buildings that are not portable or relocatable / land purchases
  • Purchase of vehicles
  • Deposits (prepayments) for which goods or services are not yet fully received
  • Expenses of permits and approvals
  • Financing charges, loan and lease interest payments, bank fees and charges as well as debt restructuring or fundraising
  • Taxes, including Harmonized Sales Tax
  • The refundable or rebateable portion of any expense for which the business receives or is eligible to receive a refund or rebate
  • Costs incurred in preparing a submission
  • Costs associated with Quarantine Act for isolation of Temporary Foreign Workers when they first arrive

Submission Process

  • Eligible businesses can complete a submission form and provide all required documentation to request reimbursement for eligible expenses.
  • Required documentation that must be provided with the submission form includes a copy of the businesses' written plan that documents steps in place to limit the spread of disease throughout the operation, and copies of all invoices and proofs of payment for eligible expenses.
  • Businesses must complete and submit forms according to the instructions given on the form.
  • Businesses may continue to complete and submit forms to request reimbursement for eligible expenses provided the intake is open to accept submissions, the business/property has not reached the $100,000 funding limit, and each submission is for a project valued at $15,000 or more.

Assessment Process

  • All complete submissions received are evaluated based only on the information submitted. Submissions will not be considered if they do not meet eligibility criteria or if they are incomplete.
  • Complete submissions that meet eligibility criteria will be considered on a continuous basis while funding is available.

Terms and Conditions

In order to be considered for funding under the Enhanced Workplace Protection Program ('the Program'), an eligible business must agree to be bound by the Terms and Conditions herein.

The business must be a legal entity that meets all eligibility requirements as set out above.

The individual who submits the submission form must be a person who is authorized by the eligible business to submit the form on behalf of the eligible business and to bind the eligible business to the contents herein. The eligible business is referred to as the business below.

By submitting the form, the individual is:

Certifying to:

  • Having read, understood and abided by all Program requirements, as well as being in agreement to continue to abide by all Program requirements. These requirements include that:
    • It was necessary for the business to incur each expense submitted in order to address health and safety issues impacting the business that is directly related to COVID-19 and listed in the Program Guideline.
    • No ineligible expenses (as listed in the Program Guideline) are being submitted.
    • Health and safety measures related to each expense submitted are in place at the time of submission, or otherwise will be put in place no later than 30 days after the date the form is submitted.
    • Each expense submitted was incurred by the business meaning the business was liable to pay the expense, on or after March 15, 2020.
    • Each expense submitted has already been invoiced to the business and paid for by the business.
    • Each expense submitted was incurred by the business through a transaction with a third party that was:
      • At Arm's Length, namely an entity that is not related, not affiliated, or otherwise controlled by another member or members within the meaning of section 251 of the Income Tax Act (Canada); and
      • Transparent, fair, and promotes the best value for the money expended at competitive prices no greater than fair market value after deducting available discounts.
    • All information submitted on the submission form is true and complete, to the best of your knowledge, belief and understanding.
    • The business is in compliance with all Requirements of the Law, namely all applicable statutes, regulations, by-laws, ordinances, codes, official plans, rules, approvals, permits, licenses, authorizations, orders, decrees, injunctions, directions, agreements and Program Guidelines that may relate to the business and/or the eligible expenses.
    • Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the business is in compliance with the Quarantine Act (Canada) including but not limited to the mandatory 14-day isolation period for temporary foreign workers.
    • Amounts of funding sourced from federal, provincial and municipal governments for a submitted expense do not, and will not, exceed 100 per cent of the amount of the expense.
    • The business does not currently owe any money to Ontario, or a description of the business' debt to Ontario is attached to the submission form.
    • No officer, director or employee of the business, or other beneficiary of the expenses, is a current or former federal public office holder or federal public servant, or, if any officer, director or employee of the business is a current or former federal public officer holder or federal public servant, they are in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Act, the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment, as applicable.

Certifying that the business:

  • Will retain all records relating to any payments made to the business, including all invoices and proof of payment in an organized and business-like manner for at least seven (7) years from the date the submission form was submitted.
  • Will consent to Ontario or Canada publishing information about the health and safety measures ('Activities') funded including the amount of funding the business has been approved to receive and/or has received, and the nature and results of any Activities funded, along with the business' name.
  • Will use as part of its Activities and retain ownership, possession and control of any tangible asset with a fair market value of over $10,000 purchased, contributed, constructed, developed or otherwise acquired by the business under this Program for at least two years following acquisition. For greater certainty, this includes refraining from leasing or otherwise encumbering these tangible assets. Further, 'fair market value' means the highest price that would be agreed to in an open and unrestricted market between knowledgeable, informed and willing parties acting at arm's length, who are under no compulsion to transact.
  • Has received and is in possession of clear evidence that any relevant union or health and safety committee for the business or property supports the business' written plan documenting steps in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Acknowledging and accepting that:

  • Ontario reserves the right to refuse to accept the submission form where it is not completed to Ontario's satisfaction.
  • Funding is provided through a discretionary, non-entitlement program and the business is not entitled to funding merely as a consequence of submitting a submission form. Payment is subject to Ontario having sufficient money within its existing budget, including receiving all the necessary appropriations from the Ontario Legislature and all the necessary monies from Canada; the business and the business' Activities satisfying eligibility criteria and eligible expense criteria; and the business' compliance with all terms and conditions.
  • If it is determined the business has received a payment the business was not eligible to receive, through administrative error or otherwise, the business will repay any and all payments that the business was not eligible to receive as well as any surplus funding.
  • Any payments made to the business may be subject to recovery or offset against the business' pre-existing debts to the Crown in Right of Ontario or of Canada. Ontario may charge interest on any money owing by the business at the then current rate charged by Ontario on accounts receivable.
  • Ontario or Canada including their respective Ministers, directors, officers, agents, employees or representatives (as applicable), shall not be liable for any damage or loss whatsoever, or howsoever arising, including damage or loss arising from any advice, opinions, representations, warranties or the provision of information.
  • The rights and obligations under the Program are governed by Ontario law and applicable federal laws of Canada. The Courts of Ontario will have exclusive jurisdiction over any proceedings related to the Program.
  • The information provided may be used and disclosed to conduct audits, enforce the terms and conditions of the Program, confirm that the person in receipt of payments under the Program paid taxes on the payments, and collect any debt owing.
  • The information, with the exception of the Social Insurance Number (SIN) provided by sole proprietors, members of unincorporated entities and partners in a partnership where they do not have Canada Revenue Agency business numbers, may be used and disclosed to, amongst other things, verify compliance with other provincial and federal funding initiatives, confirm the information provided, verify eligibility and ensure there is no duplication of funding.
  • The information provided may, with the exception of the SIN, be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Ontario) or the Access to Information Act (Canada).
  • Any money received under the Program is for the administration of a social or economic program or for the provision of direct or indirect support to members of the public in connection with social and economic policy.

Consenting to the following on behalf of the business

  • To provide accurate, timely and full information, including supporting documentation, to Ontario and notify Ontario immediately in the event there are any changes to the information provided.
  • To provide Canada, Ontario and their authorized representatives with any information or access to a person, place or thing within the timelines provided by Ontario, Canada or their authorized representatives.
  • To comply with onsite field inspections and/or audits by Ontario and Ontario's authorized representatives upon notice, and during normal business hours, to verify eligibility, and to evaluate compliance with the requirements of the Program.
  • To comply with reviews by Ontario of information related to other programs and initiatives delivered by, or for, Ontario in which the business is enrolled or has applied.
  • The use of the business' name and contact information by Ontario or Canada to contact the business for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of programming, or for any other similar purpose.
  • To acknowledge Canada and Ontario's support in the following manner where the business receives funding under this Program: "The [insert what health and safety COVID-related measures were funded] is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada."

In the event of a conflict between anything set out in Guidelines and the Minister's Order 0004/2020 under which this Program is created, the Minister's Order will prevail.

Depending on the timing of your submission, funding may be provided by both Canada and Ontario, or by Ontario only.

Errors and Omissions Excepted.

The electronic On-Farm Worker Safety Improvement Program submission form is available here.


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