Free webinar to help growers prepare for an occupational health and safety inspector field visit
April 20, 2020 By Fruit and Vegetable
Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) will begin an inspection initiative on April 21, 2020; visiting farms, greenhouses and businesses that hire temporary foreign agricultural workers.
To help businesses prepare, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS) and the MLTSD are presenting a complimentary one-hour webinar at 10 a.m. on April 21, 2020 to provide an overview of the inspection initiative. Participants will learn:
- the risks associated with COVID-19 and how to reduce the spread of infection in the workplace.
- what to expect during an inspection for this initiative.
- available resources to help them prepare for a potential visit by a MLTSD inspector.
Participation is free and those interested can register online.
Employers are required to follow a host of requirements if they employ temporary foreign workers to ensure the safety of communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ontario Ministry of Health released its own guidance regarding temporary foreign workers, Guidance for Temporary Foreign Workers, on March 31. The document covers transportation, isolation protocols, screening requirements, how workers can access OHIP coverage, and more.
The federal ministers of health and employment wrote a letter to employers of temporary foreign workers outlining the consequences of not following the requirements. Employers who do not follow the requirements will forfeit their right to employ temporary foreign workers in the future and the federal government is also assessing options for penalties for employers of foreign nationals under other regulatory regimes, such as the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
Plus, workers could be fined. Penalties of up to $750,000 can be levied against a temporary foreign worker for non-compliance with an Emergency Order made under the Quarantine Act.
A list of Canadian government resources for temporary foreign workers and COVID-19:
- (April 7) British Columbia’s Protecting B.C. farmers and farm workers during the COVID-19 pandemic
- (April 5) Frequently asked questions: Changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers program regarding COVID-19
- (April 1) Letter from Ministers to employers – Temporary Foreign Workers
- (March 31) Ontario Ministry of Health’s Guidance for Temporary Foreign Workers
- (March 27) Guidance for Employers of Temporary Foreign Workers Regarding COVID-19
- Temporary Foreign Worker Program information found within Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – Employment and Social Development Canada
- (March 20 release) The Government of Canada’s original update on travel exemptions for temporary foreign workers and seasonal agricultural workers
- Canada’s home page for COVID-19 information and resources: canada.ca/coronavirus
- How to isolate at home when you have COVID-19
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