COVID-19: Resources for food processors

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

For information specific to agriculture, visit COVID-19: Resources for the agri-food industry.

Prevention, Control and Best Practices

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources

COVID-19 Screening and Testing Resources

  • Routine Screening - Employers are required to actively screen every worker before they enter the workplace at the start of their shift. A worker and employee screening tool is available. Learn more about workplace screening for COVID-19.
  • Provincial Antigen Screening Program - The Ontario government is encouraging the use of rapid antigen point-of-care testing as an enhanced screening tool for asymptomatic employees, that will allow employers to add an additional safety measure to their workplaces, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Ontario's rapid antigen point-of-care tests are available for agri-food businesses, including primary agricultural production, food and beverage processing, and key distribution centres. Learn how rapid antigen screening can fit into your screening program by visiting Screening for COVID-19: guidance for employers for more information.
  • Testing for Travel: As a follow up to the recent COVID-19 Provincial Testing Guidance changes, we have put together a frequently asked questions (FAQ) to ensure Temporary Foreign Workers will return home safely.
    The FAQ provides guidance for both employers and workers on where to go for asymptomatic lab-based PCR testing, how to get your test results and more. The FAQ is also available in multiple languages, please see links to the English, French, Spanish and Thai versions of the FAQ.

Food manufacturing and processing health and safety during COVID-19

Meal and break periods at work during COVID-19

Develop your COVID-19 workplace safety plan (Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development)

Information Links for Managing Human Resources COVID-19 Response: to help agri-food businesses understand changes related to managing staff on their operation. The information is current as of the publication date; however, it may be subject to frequent changes.

Non-medical masks and personal protective equipment (PPE)

Masks serve two purposes to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces: as source control to protect others from the individual wearing the mask, and as personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect the wearer. Not all masks are suitable for both purposes. The use of masks in agri-food workplaces is an important control which should be implemented in combination with other controls.

To learn more about PPE and source control masks, read Using Masks in the Workplace or the appropriate sections in the Guide to developing your workplace COVID-19 safety plan.

Check the Workplace PPE supplier directory, a list of over 200 companies that sell PPE such as masks, gloves, sanitizer and counter guards to keep yourself and your workers safe from COVID-19. The federal government also has a listing of organizations buying and selling PPE during COVID-19.

Funding

  • 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.

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


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