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In light of recent outbreaks on farms in our region, the WECHU has additional recommendations to help prevent transmission of COVID-19 amongst temporary foreign workers after they’ve completed their 14-day quarantine/isolation.

Please note, this is not an exhaustive list of recommendations as each task and situation requires its own assessment and plan to address infection control against communicable diseases and other hazards.

Sanitation in Housing Accommodations

Employers must ensure that workers have access to facilities that allow them to wash their hands often with soap and warm water, or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly soiled. Workers should avoid shared items where possible, and clean and disinfect frequently when not possible.

Employers should also ensure that enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols are being implemented in living quarters, work areas, and other common areas including:

  • Cleaning all surfaces using commercially purchased multi-surface household cleaners.
  • If using a disinfectant, only use those which have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is approved for use in Canada.
  • Check the expiry date of cleaning products before using them and always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Frequently touched surfaces are more likely to be contaminated. Surfaces that have frequent contact with hands should be cleaned and disinfected once per day and when visibly dirty. Examples of frequently touched surfaces include doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, sink tap handles, bedside tables, counters, tables, chairs, hand rails, buffet utensils, touch screen surfaces, TV or radio remotes, and keypads.
  • Food within seasonal housing accommodations should be protected from contamination at all times. This may include safe distancing or ensuring guards or coverings for food, and utensils.
  • Ensure all hand wash sinks are supplied with soap and paper towels.
  • Where possible, increase the ventilation system’s air intake or open doors and windows. Avoid central re-circulation where possible. Change HVAC system filters regularly.
  • Organize a schedule for work shifts, meals, showers, and laundry times to avoid crowding common spaces.
  • Where possible, consider setting work shifts for those sharing same accommodation so that some are working while others can use the accommodation’s facilities (e.g. showers, kitchen)

Workplace sanitation

Employers have an obligation to maintain clean worksites and that obligation is even more important to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

  • Allow employees to properly clean their hands during the workday, both inside and out in the fields by providing access to soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Have all employees and visitors wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water before entering the workplace and after contact with surfaces others have touched.
  • Encourage handwashing before breaks and at shift changes.
  • Clean washroom facilities regularly and when visibly soiled.
  • Sanitize commonly touched surfaces and shared equipment (where sharing of equipment cannot be avoided).
  • Post hygiene instructions in English or other workplace languages so everyone can understand how to do their part.

Screening for Signs and Symptoms

  • The Ontario Ministry of Health has provided recommendations and tools for both active and passive screening, these are available on the ministry’s COVID-19 website. Screening activities should be focused on TFWs and should be done on a regular basis throughout the day.
  • A daily screening tool has been developed by the WECHU to assist workplaces with screening employees reporting to work each day. It is available in English and Spanish.
    • Have a record of all screening and make available upon request within 24 hours
    • Records are to be kept on file physically or virtually for a minimum of 30 days
  • Post signage at entrances to prompt anyone to not enter if they feel unwell, have symptoms of COVID-19, have travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days, or been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Regularly monitor the health of workers. Such monitoring (i.e. wellness checks) should be conducted in-person with direct observation of the worker.
  • Screeners should take appropriate precautions when screening, including maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) from those being screened, or being separated by a physical barrier (such as a plexiglass barrier), and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) (i.e., surgical/procedure mask.
  • Keep a log (including the date, names and contact information) of all visitors and service providers accessing the property.
  • If a worker fails the screening or has become ill, they must be isolated from others immediately and brought to a local assessment centre for testing and medical attention.
  • They should be removed from their housing unit and provided self-isolation accommodations until they are cleared to return to work.
  • Contact the Health Unit at 519-258-2146 to notify them and receive specific advice on control measures that must be taken to prevent the potential spread and how to monitor other possible infected workers.

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing is required to control the spread of COVID-19.

  • Everyone should keep 2 metres from other people as much as possible. If it is not possible to maintain physical distancing, ensure workers wear a mask or face covering.
  • Maintain distance between workers during transportation. Post this signage inside vehicles as a reminder.
  • Ensure physical distancing (at least 2 metres) while in lunch rooms and meeting rooms.  Where possible, stagger start times, shifts, breaks, and lunch times.
  • Restrict the number of people on-site and where they are assigned to work.
  • Control site movement by limiting the potential for workers to gather.
  • Limit the number of people working in one space at the same time. Post this signage around the workplace as a reminder.
  • Minimize the number of people using each piece of equipment in instances where sharing equipment cannot be avoided.
  • Hold meetings outside or in a large space.
  • Install barriers between workers where practical, for example, plexiglass.
  • Inform workers that socializing or travelling around the farm or in public spaces in groups is not permitted and may be enforced by local law or by-law enforcement.

Wearing of Face Masks

Since COVID-19 can be transmitted from persons who have minimal or no signs or symptoms of illness, epidemiological evidence indicates that the use of face masks by all persons reduces the spread of respiratory droplets and the transmission of COVID-19.

  • The use of face masks in the workplace is recommended in situations where physical distancing (spatial separation of individuals by at least two metres) is difficult to maintain.
  • Ensure workers are trained on how to properly put on and take off face masks.
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Last modified: 
Tuesday, November 30, 2021 - 2:54pm