Leamington, ON – Area greenhouse farms are stepping up to play their part to help Windsor-Essex get to Stage three of re-opening. Local growers are continuing their efforts to keep farm employees safe by ensuring they are treated with respect and dignity, are paid fairly, have access to health care and benefits, and importantly, are safely housed. Farms, and employee living and working conditions, continue to be regularly inspected by multiple agencies and governments.
Farmers remain committed to:
• Informing employees about available testing options and doing their part to make sure employees’ legal rights for job protection and income protection (e.g. WSIB) are respected.
• Continuing to work with all levels of government to provide COVID-19 health and safety training guidelines for farmers and employees.
• Limiting the movement of local temporary contract employees from one farm to another to reduce the risk of community spread and ensuring appropriate protections are in place to limit exposure between contract and full time employees to decrease the risk of infection.
“We want to see Windsor-Essex get to Stage three,” says Joe Sbrocchi, General Manager of Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG). As growers our job is to get food on people’s plates and to keep workers safe while doing so. To open up as quickly as possible, we support the government and local health authorities to act on quickly both onand off-farm testing for all agri-food employees.”
To help expedite Stage three re-opening in Windsor-Essex, the sector calling on government and local health authorities to action two specific testing priorities:
Facilitate the availability of local and province-wide proactive testing of all agri-food employees throughexpanded and consistent deployment of on-farm testing resources.
Promote and strengthen community-based testing in the surrounding area of Windsor-Essex to minimize risk of community spread to farm employees.
“To get the economy going again, we need the collective efforts of growers, governments and local health authorities to help farmers keep employees safe and maintain our food supply, said Dr. Justine Taylor, Science & GR Manager with OGVG. Our greenhouse farmers are committed to continuing to work with government and health officials to protect the health and safety of our essential agricultural employees so that they can continue to ensure that locally grown fruits and vegetables are available year-round.”