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Asymptomatic employees with COVID-19 have final say when returning to work

Published June 27, 2020

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 27, 2020

 

Asymptomatic employees with COVID-19 have final say when returning to work

 

LEAMINGTON, ON – The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) urges caution when applying the new provincial guidance that allows employees to continue working after testing positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic. It is vital the health and wellbeing of employees continue to be put first.

 

While the new guidelines offer some flexibility to local Medical Officers of Health when positive asymptomatic cases develop within a workforce, the final decision of choosing to work rests with the individual employee, not the employer.

 

Employees who are either positive or close contacts of positive cases will only be allowed to work after the local heath officials have approved a plan that strictly protects not only the infected employee(s), but anyone that may come in contact with them.

 

“The first priority in greenhouses where positive COVID-19 cases are found is the health of all workers,” says Joe Sbrocchi, OGVG General Manager. “Growers are working closely with health officials to determine if, and how, asymptomatic positive employees and close contacts of positive cases can be offered the opportunity to continue work if they so choose.”

 

Growers respect the rights and wishes of their employees. If asymptomatic positive employees are not comfortable working and choose to self-isolate, that decision will be respected. Growers will not undertake any activities that risk the health of any employees.

 

About OGVG

 

The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) represents approximately 200 farmers responsible for over 3,200 acres of fresh, nutritious, greenhouse tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers across the province. With farmgate sales of $950 million in 2018, support for over 13,000 jobs, a contribution of $1.8 billion to the economy and a consistent track record of growth, the sector is a valuable economic driver for the province.

For an overview of OGVG’s COVID-19 initiatives see the following link.

 

For Media Inquiries, Contact:

Mr. Joseph Sbrocchi, General Manager

Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Seneca Road, Leamington, Ontario N8H 5H7 T 519-326-2604 or 1-800-265-6926

Email: j.sbrocchi@ontariogreenhouse.com

Website: www.ogvg.com

Dr. Justine Taylor,

Science & GR Manager Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers 32 Seneca Road, Leamington, Ontario N8H 5H7

T 519-564-4496 or 1-800-265-6926

Email: jtaylor@ontariogreenhouse.com Website: www.ogvg.com

 

Previous Press Releases

 

 


Greenhouse Sector embraces new provincial action plan to Stop COVID-19 Outbreaks in Windsor-Essex

Published June 24, 2020

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For further information in regards to OGVG's response to the current COVID-19 pandemic and a detailed collection of resources, please visit our dedicated COVID-19 page at https://bio.ogvg.com/ 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 24, 2020

 

Greenhouse Sector embraces new provincial action plan to Stop COVID-19 Outbreaks in Windsor-Essex

 

 

LEAMINGTON, ON – Today’s announcement of a provincial action plan to stop COVID-19 outbreaks in Windsor-Essex is a critical next step in building a robust infection mitigation and management structure in the region.

 

Today’s announcement included three measures:

1. Ongoing and expanded on-site testing

2. Access to employment benefits and supports

3. New public health guidance

 

These measures build on regional efforts to ensure that the sector can continue to deliver a trusted testing system for all agri-food employees, with a mix of on-farm and assessment center protocols to all farm employees.

 

OGVG and its partners have been making progress with enhanced testing. As of mid-day today, we estimate that nearly 23% of greenhouse vegetable acreage in Essex county has undergone testing, with another 39% committed for the upcoming days. This is in addition to testing that has occurred in the other sub-sectors of agriculture in the region.

 

The clarity for employees and employers regarding support for those impacted by positive tests is a crucial step in enhancing trust among agri-food employees and ensuring their well-being will be taken care of.

 

Similarly, the expanded on-site testing will bring additional testing capacity to the region in a way that further builds trust and confidence across the agri-food sector and in the community. We understand the frustration felt by the communities of Kingsville and Leamington and we assure you that we are taking all steps to ensure we can move forward into Phase two as quickly as possible.

 

Finally, the updated public health guidance will bring greater clarity as to the best management protocols for case management in the agri-food sector to ensure both public health and food supply objectives are met.

 

OGVG and its partners are also working to step up the compliance and enforcement capacity within the region to address contraventions and to develop enhanced requirements for contract employees and the agencies that manage them.

 

Quotes:

 

“We are grateful for the ongoing support from the provincial government in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Together with our municipal, health and community partners we continue to put the health, safety and well-being of our workers, farm families and our community at the core of everything we do”. Mr. Joseph Sbrocchi, General Manager, OGVG.

- 30 -

 

 


About OGVG

The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) represents approximately 200 farmers responsible for over 3,200 acres of fresh, nutritious, greenhouse tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers across the province. With farmgate sales of $950 million in 2018, support for over 13,000 jobs, a contribution of $1.8 billion to the economy and a consistent track record of growth, the sector is a valuable economic driver for the province.

 

For an overview of OGVG’s COVID-19 initiatives see the following link.

 

For Media Inquiries, Contact: Mr. Joseph Sbrocchi,
General Manager

Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers

32 Seneca Road, Leamington, Ontario N8H 5H7

T 519-326-2604 or 1-800-265-6926

Email: j.sbrocchi@ontariogreenhouse.com

Website: www.ogvg.com

Dr. Justine Taylor, Science & GR Manager

Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers

32 Seneca Road, Leamington, Ontario
N8H 5H7

T 519-564-4496 or 1-800-265-6926

Email: jtaylor@ontariogreenhouse.com

Website: www.ogvg.com

 
 

Previous Press Releases

 

 


For further information in regards to OGVG's response to the current COVID-19 pandemic and a detailed collection of resources, please visit our dedicated COVID-19 page at https://bio.ogvg.com/


Greenhouse Sector and Community leaders deliver full cooperation with Premier’s requests 

Published June 23, 2020

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 23, 2020 

Greenhouse Sector and Community leaders deliver full cooperation with Premier’s requests 

 

LEAMINGTON, ON – Yesterday businesses, municipal leaders and the community were disappointed to learn that the region would not be moving into the Phase two of reopening. In response, Ontario’s Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) and their leadership are redoubling efforts and resources to deliver results in controlling COVID-19 infections to get back to business as quickly as possible. 

 

“The well-being of our workers and family farms continues to be our top priority”, stated Paul Mastronardi Kingsville, ON, grower. We have taken many steps over the past three months to control the spread and ensure a safe and healthy on-farm workplace - but there remains more to do. We recognize there continue to be gaps and we are committed to addressing them”. 

 

Dr. Justine Taylor, Science and Government Relations Manager, OGVG, added, “We are working with regional health authorities, provincial health authorities, the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs along with our municipal partners to enhance testing protocols and ensure fast and effective communication of health and safety information and requirements to our farmers”. 

 

The sector has and will continue to deliver testing for all agri-food employees, promoting a mix of on-farm and assessment center protocols to all farm workers. “Many employees have significant fears associated with testing positive and we are committed to collectively address these concerns”, added Peter Quiring, Leamington area greenhouse grower. 

 

Reiterating Premier Ford’s message today, farmers, municipalities, governments and health care providers will provide additional assurances to employees immediately. These strong assurances will specify to all employees that they will not be sent home, that they will be paid if they need to isolate and that they will be supported if they fall ill while in Canada. 

 

In addition to promoting increased testing, and in cooperation with regional, municipal and provincial partners the sector is taking all necessary steps to address the underlying issues surrounding on-farm outbreaks, including: 

  • increased joint on-farm inspections with the federal government under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. We rely on the existing compliance and enforcement framework to identify and address bad players. We need it to work and if it does not, we need to work together to fix it. 
  • a ban on employees working at more than one operation. 
  • support a crackdown on the use unscrupulous recruiters who operate outside of the law. We ask all levels of government to work with the sector to address this complicated issue. 
  • source and distribute additional PPE for employees to use in their communities. We will also distribute PPE to local businesses to ensure masks and social distancing are the norm at all commercial establishments. 

“To our friends and neighbours across the region we recognize and acknowledge your frustrations in the delay in moving to stage two reopening, added Joe Sbrocchi, OGVG General Manager, “our commitment to 

you is to do whatever it takes to move forward and deliver the results we need to open quickly and safely. We all have a role to play in moving forward and we are committed to do our part in the spirit of community collaboration”.