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Public health issues order to farms that employ temporary foreign workers

The acting medical officer of health says they're being proactive to make sure all COVID-19 measures are in place
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Under the direction of Ontario's Medical Officer of Health, the health department in Waterloo Region has issued an order to employers of temporary foreign workers to ensure measures to prevent, or reduce the spread of COVID-19 are in place.

Waterloo Region's acting medical officer of health told a media briefing on Friday it doesn't mean the operators have not already put the measures in place, public health just wants to be proactive.

That order was issued at 15 farms in the area earlier this week.

"At this time we have not detected any cases among temporary foreign workers in our community, on such farms ... this order allows us to provide farms with clear information on the strict measures that they need to ensure are in place, to prevent, or reduce the spread of COVID-19." said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang.

The measures include:

  • making sure workers isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Canada
  • notifying public health if a worker develops any COVID-19 symptoms during self-isolation
  • conduct daily active screening of employees
  • ensure that surfaces in the employee accommodations of the farm are cleaned and disinfected regularly including surfaces in bathrooms, kitchens and common areas on a daily basis, or more often as required, and that a log be maintained

Dr. Wang said they are working with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, who are currently conducting on-site assessments of the farms that employ temporary foreign workers here and across the province.

It's estimated the virus has already infected hundreds of migrant workers in Ontario.

with files from Erin Anderson

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