ONTARIO — More money has been made available to more agri-food businesses — to a maximum of $50,000 per property — and more time has been set aside to access those dollars, under a provincial program aimed at helping those establishments guard against the workplace spread of COVID-19 and increase employee health and safety.
Recent changes to Ontario’s Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program include an extended application deadline to February 1, 2022, or until funding is fully allocated.
The program features two categories, one based on preventing COVID-19 and the other based on dealing with an outbreak.
Under the ‘Workplace COVID-19 Prevention category,’ the program will now contribute up to $50,000 on cost-share funding for eligible expenses — up from $15,000 — and still based on 60% of eligible expenses. Eligibility in this category was also expanded to include food and beverage processors with three or more employees and agri-food industry organizations/associations.
Under the program’s ‘Responsive COVID-19 Outbreak Management category,’ eligibility has been expanded to include poultry catchers/vaccinators and professional barn cleaners. Eligible expenses in this category now include extraordinary costs resulting from an extended COVID-19 quarantine period beyond 14 days.
All eligible businesses can apply for the Enhanced Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program immediately. Funding is limited to $50,000 per business and per property.
The province has spent over $36 million on the Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program since COVID-19 began, including $10 million allocated to the program this fiscal year.