COVID-19 Sec 22: TFW and migrant workers

COVID-19 Class Order: Employers of Migrant Workers

Farm workers are an essential part of our food supply chain and in recent weeks we have seen COVID-19 transmission and outbreaks occurring on farms in other parts of the province. In order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread within farms who employ Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) or migrant workers, in Huron and Perth counties, the Huron Perth Medical Officer of Health (MOH) has issued a Section 22 order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. 

This order applies to all Huron and Perth farm owners, operators and temporary help agencies who employ migrant workers, including TFWs.

What does the order require?

This order requires employers of migrant workers, including TFWs, to follow any direction provided to them by Huron Perth Public Health, including:

  • Ensuring employees self-isolate as necessary, with proper supports in place.
  • Ensuring employees work exclusively in one workplace.
  • Ensuring public health measures are followed on the work site.
  • Ensuring that contact information is available, and that employees are able to communicate with HPPH if case and contact management is required.
  • Cooperation with HPPH staff where positive or suspect cases of COVID-19 are identified.

A full list of requirements are included in the official Section 22 Order [PDF].

Why is this order being issued?

The Chief Medical  Officer of Health has recommended medical officers of health issue a Section 22 order as a legal mechanism to ensure that we are all doing everything we can to protect the health and wellbeing of TFW or migrant workers and Huron-Perth residents.

Proper self-isolation and public health measures were already part of public health guidance provided to owners and operators. This order does not come as a result of issues identified with our farms, but rather serves as a legal mechanism to ensure the health and safety of workers is protected and HPPH guidance is followed.

Under what authority did Huron Perth Public Health issue a class order related to COVID-19?

The Health Protection and Promotion Act authorizes the Medical Officer of Health to make a class order to address the risks presented by the potential spread of COVID-19 to migrant or TFWs residing and working in Huron and Perth counties.

When is the order effective? How long must people comply with the order?

The order is effective on Tuesday, June 30 at 12 p.m. and will remain in effect until the Medical Officer of Health determines it is no longer required.

How could the order be enforced if a person or employer fails to comply?

Individuals and employers who are working on agricultural farms are required to follow the requirements under this order, and those who do not do so can be charged and fined up to $5,000 per day. Corporations who are found in violation of the order can be charged and fined up to $25,000 per day.

Can a person challenge the order?

Individuals identified in the class order may challenge the order by appealing to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board.

Contact information for the Health Services Appeal and Review Board can be found at: www.hsarb.on.ca/scripts/english/contact.asp.  

How does the Medical Officer of Health’s class order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act differ from the federal order under the Quarantine Act?

The federal government’s quarantine order was aimed at all travellers entering Canada, effective March 25, 2020. That order also imposes a 14-day home quarantine on travelers; including TFWs regardless of whether they have symptoms of COVID-19.  The Section 22 order issued by HPPH’s Medical Officer of Health reaffirms the requirement for compliance with the quarantine order.

How can I contact Huron Perth Public Health for more information about this order, public health guidance or to report if a worker becomes symptomatic?

From Monday – Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm, call 1-888-221-2133 x3267

For after hours and Weekends (including Statutory Holidays):

In Huron County: call 519-482-7077

In Perth County: call 1-800-431-2054