COVID-19 Orientation Guide

by Nathan Couvillon

Preparing for Departure from Home Country

Pre-departure COVID-19 Testing

Canada will be requiring pre-departure testing and negative results for all air travelers coming to Canada. A negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test must be performed on all temporary foreign workers (TFW’s) by an accredited lab within 72 hours of boarding a flight effective January 7, 2021. Travelers may be denied boarding should they not have this negative test in hand.

NOTE: Workers arriving from Mexico will have a 96-hour window to obtain a negative PCR test to board a plane to Canada until January 14. After January 14, workers will once again only have 72-hours to obtain the negative PCR test. Those farms that are arranging their own flights should contact your workers directly so that they are aware of the new requirements.

NOTE: There is a new addition to Canada’s travel restrictions that directly affects the travel of workers coming from Jamaica. The new interim order states “Exceptionally, and in order to deal with the unexpected challenges of a COVID-19 molecular testing supply shortage, from January 10 until January 18, 2021, travelers departing from Jamaica who were not able to obtain a COVID-19 test may be allowed to board their flight, if they consent in advance to take a COVID-19 test at the Toronto Pearson International airport immediately upon their arrival in Canada.” Jamaica continues to be on the list at the bottom that allows 96hrs for a test until January 14. This temporary exemption for passengers is restricted to flights destined to Pearson International Airport in Toronto. Travellers making use of this exemption will also be subject to other measures as deemed suitable by a public health quarantine officer. COVID-19 pre-departure testing – Transport Canada

You can find additional information at by scrolling down to the headline that says Jamaica and click on the ‘health’ tab – the following information is there.

Due to reduced testing capacity, it may be challenging to obtain a COVID-19 test at this time in Jamaica. Contact the High Commission of Canada to Jamaica or the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa to find out where to get a COVID-19 test.

Find more information on the requirements from the Government of Canada here (

Temporary Testing Exemption

All travellers will have their quarantine plans reviewed by a government official and, if the plan is not suitable, the traveller will be required to quarantine in a federally designated quarantine facility. Travellers to Canada must use the ArriveCAN app or website and provide accurate contact information and their mandatory 14-day quarantine plan on or before entry. This seems to be unrelated to whether an individual is exempt from the testing requirement. As all workers should have an appropriate quarantine plan upon arrival (as required by the feds of the employer), this would unlikely come into play for TFWS.

ArriveCan App

As of November 21, 2020, all travelers entering Canada, including Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) will be required to submit contact and quarantine information digitally upon and after entry via the ArriveCAN app or webpage. Information on this requirement can be found here:

Arriving in Canada

Transportation for Workers Upon Arrival

Employers are reminded that precautions must be taken when transporting arriving workers from the airport or from the farm to quarantine housing locations. This includes taking precautions to protect arriving workers from each other and from the driver of the vehicle. Some helpful guidance can be found here:

Quarantine Requirements

The 14 day, non-working, and paid quarantine requirement for TFWs entering Canada remains in effect. Employers are required to enable workers to meet the quarantine requirement. The requirements for employers to meet are outlined here: Frequently asked questions regarding requirements for entering and quarantine of TFWs, including monetary penalties for noncompliance can be found here:

Workplace Safety

Active Screening Requirement

Employers must actively screen every worker before they enter the workplace at the start of their shift as described in the instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health:

  • Active screening may be done in person at the workplace or remotely using the telephone, internet (online), email submission, or an app prior to entry.
  • Actively screen each person entering the workplace for work purposes, including workers, volunteers, suppliers, and contractors.
  • Screening should occur before or when the person arrives at the workplace at the beginning of their shift or visit.
    Use the COVID-19 screening tool for workplaces or ensure that your screening process includes all the questions from the screening tool.
  • A screener should advise anyone who does not pass the screening:
    • that they may not enter the workplace, including any outdoor, or partially outdoor, workplaces
    • to go home to self-isolate immediately
    • to contact their health care provider or Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) to find out if they need a COVID-19 test and for further instructions
  • Make sure screeners receive information and instruction on how to perform this work safely and what to do if a person must be excluded from the workplace.
How to Wash Your Hands

Visit the following link for a hand washing guide from Public Health Ontario:

Physical Distancing Guidelines

Visit the following link for an overview of physical/social distancing from the Government of Canada:

PPE Overview (English)
PPE Overview (Spanish)
Mask Safety Basics (English)
Mask Safety Basics (Spanish)


COVID-19 Self Assessment

Take this self-assessment if you were exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms:


Symptom Reporting and COVID-19 Safety Practices (English)
Reportando síntomas y prácticas de seguridad COVID-19 (Español)

OMAFRA Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program

Program Overview

The Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program will help more operations, including farms, take additional measures to improve the health and safety of agri-food workers in the province during the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure the continued supply of locally grown food all year round.

Funding is available through the Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program in the following categories:

  • The Preventative Occupational Health and Safety Measures category provides eligible farmers and other operations with cost-share funding to help support the health and safety of their employees through assistance with the purchase of such things as personal protective equipment, medical testing equipment, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection.
  • The On-Farm Worker Safety Improvement Program provides support for farm worker safety infrastructure projects up to $100,000 such as housing or workplace modifications and equipment to enhance physical distancing between workers.

Eligible submissions for project costs incurred on or after March 15, 2020 are received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available or until February 26, 2021.


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