With the recent omicron variant causing concern for in-person work again, the Government of Ontario has created the Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program – Outbreak Management program to help cover the cost of employee time off, transportation, and accommodation expenses for employees that test positive for COVID-19.
This program funds up to 100% of eligible expenses to help support agri-businesses during the recent COVID-19 omicron wave.
This program was originally introduced in 2020 with the goal of supporting businesses in the agri-food sector throughout the previous COVID-19 waves, but it was recently brought back due to concerns with the omicron variant. The program has since been updated and topped up for 2021 and 2022 funding to help address the current challenges the sector is facing.
Funding Snapshot: Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program – Outbreak Management
Amount of Funding:
This program covers 100% of eligible expenses from employers that are approved for funding through the Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program – Outbreak Management stream.
To help ensure funding from the Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program – Outbreak Management stream goes towards the employers that need this funding the most, the following set of eligibility criteria must be met by each employer before applying:
- Business must employ three or more paid employees;
- Must be an established farm business that is a legal entity and produces agricultural commodities in Ontario under a valid Farm Business Registration Number (FBRN);
- Must provide primary food processing for fruit and vegetable crops (cutting, cleaning, packaging, storage, and refrigeration of raw plant foods); and
- Must provide on-farm services where agriculture employees operate within close proximity (poultry catchers / vaccinators, professional barn cleaners, corn detassels, hatcheries, transporters of agricultural commodities).
The goal of this program is to financially support businesses within the agri-food sector that are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak by fully covering the costs related to employees testing positive for COVID-19. Eligible expenses under this stream include:
- Certain incremental costs directly related to the isolation period of the employee (i.e., Accommodations, Transportation, and Meal Costs);
- Up to 5 weeks of wages that have been paid to each worker/employee exclusively for the period of time they were unable to work due to a COVID-positive test result, or a government order related to COVID-19;
- Costs related to providing alternate accommodations for up to 5 weeks for employees, including transportation and incremental meal costs necessary for workers/employees in self-isolation; and
- Costs for providing employees with ancillary accommodation expenses for up to 5 weeks necessary for the employee during self-isolation.
This program has a deadline of February 1, 2022 and can fund wages paid to employees during self-isolation periods that occurred between March 13, 2021, and February 1, 2022. The program is currently accepting applications; funding is provided on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Additional COVID-19 Funding Programs for Agri-Businesses
The Canadian federal and provincial governments know how important funding for agri-businesses is during the coronavirus pandemic. To find additional funding programs available in your industry, view our directory of Canadian food & beverage funding programs, or reach out to a member of the Mentor Works team to find a funding program for your business.
During the pandemic, Mentor Works is committed to keeping businesses updated on the funding programs available to them through our COVID-19 support page.