Workplace Planning Tools and Workforce Resources

by Dr. Justine Taylor

Workplace Resources


AAFC: Workplace guidance for sector employers and employees (Public health advice from Public Health Agency of Canada)

CAHRC: Information and Tips on COVID-19 including access to the AgriHR Toolkit

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety: Pandemic tip sheet, Food processing tip sheet, Agriculture tip sheet, Information Sharing Portal (voluntary database of resources)

Public Health Agency of Canada: Risk-Informed Decision Making Guidelines for Workplaces

Canadian Horticulture Council: Preparing for COVID-19 on your farm – last updated June 4, 2020, COVID-19 Information Centre

Food Processing Skills Canada – Food Processing Skills Canada has developed two new resources in support of food and beverage manufacturers that employ temporary foreign workers, and participants in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

  1. Temporary Foreign Workers During COVID-19 – e-Learning for Foreign Workers Preparing to Work in Canada: This e-learning course is available for free until July 15th and will assist temporary foreign workers in integrating comfortably into Canada during COVID-19 with best practice to keep their family and workplaces safe.
  2. Employers’ Guide to COVID-19 and the Temporary Foreign Worker: This free downloadable employer resource provides a straightforward review of the impacts COVID-19 has had on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and offers a quick reference guide on travel, pre-arrival, self-isolation, workplace preparation and employee support.

April 14, 2020: CFIA guidance: Prevention of and response to suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 by operators

CFIA has prepared the linked guidance document outlining their expectations for operations to have in place prevention and mitigation measures and response plans. While the document is written form the perspective of protecting CFIA inspectors, much of the information is relative to your own planning process. The following is the high level expectations:

Operators are encouraged to take strong preventative measures to help mitigate the risks to individuals within their premises. They should also document these measures. It is recognized that certain public health measures may not be possible in some operations. Documentation should recognize this and outline the preventative measures that are in place.

For example, where the public health guidance for physical distancing is 2 metres, but cannot easily be accommodated, it may be possible to:

  • adjust on-site inspection practices and frequencies,
  • increase the distance between CFIA employees and location staff, or
  • adjust traffic patterns through the premises to avoid “people-congested” areas.

Operators are also encouraged to have plans that respond to both suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19. Relevant definitions from PHAC are provided in the Annex. Operators are encouraged to consult with local public health authorities for applicable guidance.

See the above link for more information.


Ontario Government:


Contract Workers: Based on information available about the recent COVID-19 outbreaks on farms, it has become apparent that growers employing contract workers face an increased risk of an outbreak amongst their SAWP/TFWP workers. To protect SAWP/TFWP workers and prevent an outbreak on the farm, we urge growers to take extra precautions if contract workers must be brought to the farm in order to carry out necessary farm activities. Growers are encouraged to do their due diligence when hiring through contract agencies and carefully weigh the need for contract labour on top of their existing SAWP/TFWP workforce and the risk it poses. Please see the WSPS guidance for employers using contract workers (recruitment/temp agencies).

Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development

All growers should consider the following when preparing their workplace to reduce the spread of COVID-19. MLTSD will be inspecting these items during their random audits which are ongoing.

    • Information/Education of workers/visitors
      • Signs, meetings, policies, training
    • Social distancing measures
      • PPE/barriers where not possible, staggered shifts/breaks
    • Screening Measures
      • For all workers and visitors: symptoms, contacts, travel
    • Cleaning and Disinfection
      • With an emphasis on high touch
    • PPE
      • Ensure appropriate supplies in place

You should consider these items in the context of the workplace (greenhouse and packing shed), bunkhouse and during transportation.

Post your policies: All employers need to post and communicate COVID-19 policies to workers. These policies should cover how the workplace will operate, including, but not limited to:

    • the sanitation of the workplace
    • how workers report illnesses
    • how to ensure physical distancing
    • how work will be scheduled
    • screening measures

If an employer is advised that a worker has tested positive for COVID-19 due to exposure at the workplace, or that a claim has been filed with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), the employer is required to notify:

    • the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development in writing within four days
    • the workplace joint health and safety committee or a health and safety representative
    • a trade union (if applicable)

Considerations for Ontario Ministry of Labour Inspections (from Manufacturing sector)

  • Established COVID policies
  • Policies to maintain 6ft distancing while doing work throughout the operation
  • Employees know of and understood the COVID procedures
  • Employees aware of procedures for wiping down equipment in between shifts.
  • Identify touch points where cross contamination could occur.
  • Policies for “deep cleaning “ if a COVID case is confirmed or suspected.
  • Policies for wiping down of machinery and equipment after each use
    • Frequency of wipe downs – after each use vs after each shift
    • Transfer of materials from one department to the next
  • Cafeteria social distancing policies
  • Masks and PPE policy
  • Communication strategies with employees
    • How did we communicate all changes and updates?
    • How can we confirm the employees have received and read the information?
  • Training: How did we train our employees to make sure they know how to follow any new procedures (ie. Additional cleaning) and how can we prove they have received the training.
  • Other policies for consideration
    • Policy regarding absences, screening and tracking all absences and a proper return to work plan for each person, mandatory quarantining after travel -Policies around closing boardrooms, fitness centre, cancelling all internal and external meetings and travel, adjusting start and end times to avoid shift overlap, cleaners should be on a different schedule


OHCOW: Ontario posters & resources (including many translated into Spanish), Comprehensive list of Canadian, US, and Mexican resources (English & Spanish resources)

Ontario Apple Growers: Infection Control and Prevention Policy

World Health Organization: COVID-19 and food safety: guidance for food businesses

United Fresh: Food Industry Recommended Protocols When Employee/Customer Tests Positive for COVID- 19, Guidance for Fruit and Vegetable Operations: Considerations to Protect Seasonal Workers Supporting Fruit and Vegetable Operations during Harvesting and Processing and in Shared/Communal Housing During COVID-19,

CDC: Manufacturing Workers and Employers – Interim Guidance from CDC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Agricultural Employer Checklist for Creating a COVID-19 Assessment and Control Plan, Agriculture Workers and Employers Guidance,

LEAR: Safe Work Playbook: An interactive guide for COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness and Response

BDC: COVID-19: Business planning tools for entrepreneurs, Best practices to protect your employees during the pandemic

UC Davis: Food Safety Resources

BC Ministry of Health: Protecting Farm Workers and Temporary Foreign Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic (May 13, 2020)

WorkSafe BC: Information for Agriculture and Workplace Safety

Workforce Tools

May 26, 2020: ESDC has released a guidance document for Temporary Foreign Workers. Please provide this to your workforce. English, French, Spanish

Posters: OGVG has a number of resources available to you in different languages here.

EMS: 911 poster for Employers, 911 Poster for Employees

Please see the attached link for a large list of COVID-19 multi-lingual resources.

HUB Connect App: Please encourage your workforce to download the App to get the most up to date information on COVID in their communities. Google  Apple


  • OPP Leamington/MWCP – Message to TFWs (ENG and SPA)
  • weCHC videos – How to prevent the spread of COVID-19 ENG SPA
  • Mexican Government COVID-19 Information SPA
  • Erie Shores Testing Center Information ENG & SPA
  • COVID Information – FAQs from the Mexican Consulate, MWCP and Working Link SPA


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