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Media Release: Public Health Order will Help Protect Agricultural Workers from COVID-19

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/May 14, 2021

Effective at 12:01 am on May 19, 2021, Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO for Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH), has issued a class order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. This order has been implemented to protect the health and safety of individuals employed at local farms. The Section 22 order enables Hastings Prince Edward Public Health to enforce certain requirements for employers of agricultural workers.

These requirements include:

  • Ensuring all temporary foreign workers isolate for 14 days from date of arrival in Canada.
  • Ensuring no worker works or has close contact with others until their quarantine period is complete.
  • Ensuring appropriate accommodations, and adequate essentials such as nutritious food/groceries, potable water, and cleaning supplies are provided to any farm worker in quarantine, isolation or otherwise.
  • Ensuring living accommodation supplied by or arranged for the workers is pre-approved by HPEPH.
  • Ensuring all public health measures pertaining to COVID-19, such as adherence to self-isolation orders, active screening, cleaning and disinfection, physical distancing, and use of appropriate personal protective equipment are followed.
  • Ensuring that workers have the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine (e.g. coordinating worker transportation to and from the vaccine clinic during a paid work period with no penalty).
  • Ensuring workers have access to factual, reputable vaccine information in their preferred language and are not penalized if refusing vaccination.

“Although public health guidelines have been provided to protect agricultural workers, the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario tells us that this population continues to be vulnerable due to the nature of their working and living conditions,” says Dr. Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “Temporary migrant and local agricultural workers are vital to our farming industry and food system, and we need to protect them from COVID-19 transmission. With the Section 22 order we can be confident that the necessary steps have been taken to help protect the health of both the agricultural labour force and the surrounding community.”

The order can be reviewed on the HPEPH website.

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Media Contact:

Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist
mhyland@hpeph.ca

Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
etubbs@hpeph.ca

About Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is a public health agency that serves the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward from four local offices. We monitor the health of our local population, deliver programs and services within our communities, and help develop healthy public policies. We provide information and support in many areas to help improve the health and well-being of our residents. Together with our communities, we help people become as healthy as they can be. For more information, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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COVID-19 VACCINES IN HPEPH

Individuals 12 and over who have not yet had a first dose, or those who meet the minimum second dose interval are now eligible to attend HPEPH walk-in clinics. To view the schedule, visit the Booking and Eligibility Page.

If you attended a clinic and did not receive an email copy of your vaccination receipt you can download a copy off the provincial booking site at Ontario.ca/bookvaccine.

PHARMACY-BASED VACCINATIONS

Individuals 12 and over can also receive their vaccination at participating local pharmacies. Please visit covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations for location and registration information.

CURRENT RESTRICTIONS IN HPEPH

On Friday, July 16 at 12:01 a.m., Ontario moved to Step 3  of the the Roadmap to Reopen. We must all continue to follow the public health measures, advice and restrictions. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people in Step 3, and distancing must be maintained. For more information, visit our COVID-19 page.

POTENTIAL EXPOSURE TO COVID-19?

If you are concerned about potential exposure to a positive case of COVID-19, please be reassured that any contacts of a confirmed case will be contacted directly and monitored by public health.

Low-risk and indirect contacts should self monitor for symptoms for 14 days from the time of potential exposure and seek testing if symptoms develop. Low risk contacts do not need to isolate unless symptoms develop, and can continue to attend school/work/daycare while monitoring for symptoms.