Consistent with the Ontario government’s phase 2 vaccination strategy, agricultural workers, including those living in congregate settings are being prioritized for vaccination. Plans are underway to make COVID-19 vaccines available to temporary foreign workers in Ontario in the very near future. Many of you will be aware of pilots that have occurred in different parts of the province, including Niagara and Norfolk, where TFWs were offered vaccination. We are also aware that plans are underway to make vaccines available to arriving workers at Pearson airport very soon.
As TFWs may not be as accustom to receiving vaccinations as Canadians are, it is important that they be provided with information about the COVID-19 vaccines in advance, and be given appropriate time to consider whether they would like to be vaccinated or not. The Ontario government’s position for vaccination of TFWs, as with Canadians, is that vaccination is voluntary and individuals must give their informed consent before being vaccinated.
How farm employers can support their workers become informed on vaccination:
Below is a list of resources that employers are encouraged to share with their TFWs. It is important to start these conversations soon – while plans may not be available for when workers will be vaccinated right now, the chance to be offered the vaccine may happen quickly and without much notice.
For employers with TFWs not yet arrived, if you are in contact with your workers before they depart for Canada, please also share these resources. It would be helpful to let them know that they may be offered a vaccine when they land at Pearson, and if so, they have the choice to accept it then. For those that may choose to not be vaccinated at the airport, it is anticipated that they will have a future opportunity should they wish. If they are not offered vaccination at the airport, having them informed early may support their acceptance of the vaccine when the opportunity becomes available to them. If the worker has not traveled yet, it may be helpful for them to consult their local health care provider to discuss vaccination.
Resources for workers:
1. OFVGA Resources for Agricultural Workers – Vaccine Resources
- Three resources available – Vaccine Bulletin, Vaccine Myths and Facts, Vaccine Aftercare. These are available in English, Spanish and Thai. There are short narrated videos of these resources available in English and Spanish. These resources can be downloaded from OFVGA’s COVID-19 webpage under the Vaccine Resources section, and are also attached below for reference.
2. Government of Canada: What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine for Canada (available in many languages)
3. Ontario Ministry of Health’s information sheets on vaccination
- Download: ENGLISH ONLY
OFVGA will share more details about vaccine rollout for farmworkers as information comes available. Please visit OFVGA’s COVID-19 webpage for many other resources farm employers can use to help keep workers informed on current health and safety requirements surrounding the pandemic.