July 28, 2020, Guelph, Ont. – Ontario’s fruit and vegetable farmers are calling for continued support and proactive action by government officials and health authorities to help keep farm workers safe.
The Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (OFVGA) says in a statement that farmers are continuing to ensure that farm workers 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 government, the OFVGA says, and seasonal agricultural workers have the same labour, human rights and social protections as all other Canadian farm workers.
“The safety of agricultural workers is a top priority for us and to enable early detection of the virus in the workforce, we need to ensure ongoing, proactive testing,” said OFVGA chair Bill George. “It’s vital that government and local health authorities work with the fruit and vegetable sector to continue collective efforts to manage outbreaks and keep farm workers safe.”
THE OFVGA says farmers also remain committed to:
Growers can do their part, but they can’t do it alone, the OFVGA says, and government and local health authorities are also key to success. The sector is calling on government and local health authorities to:
“During the pandemic, domestic food security is more important than ever, and therefore we must all work together to protect the food system and our essential agri-food workers,” said George. “Recent outbreaks have also illustrated why the government needs to ensure workers and growers are protected financially.”
The OFVGA is the voice of Ontario’s 3,500 fruit and vegetable farmers on issues affecting the horticulture sector. The sector grows products in fields and greenhouses across the province for fresh and processed consumption.
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