HKPR District Health Unit Issues Order to Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

In Community, Local

The local health unit is taking additional steps to help protect area residents from the spread of COVID19.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit today (July 9) issued a Section 22 Class Order to all owners and operators of agricultural farms that employ migrant farm workers, participate in the federal Temporary Farm Worker (TFW) or operate any model of seasonal housing accommodations.

The Order is effective from 12 pm (noon) July 9, 2020 and will remain in effect until the Medical Officer of Health determines it is no longer required.

“While we have not seen large COVID-19 outbreaks at farms in our area, the Health Unit is taking this step to help further reduce the risk to the people working in our area farms and the residents of our community,” says Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, Medical Officer of Health for the HKPR District Health Unit.

Under the Order, all owners and operators of agricultural farms in Northumberland and Haliburton counties and the City of Kawartha Lakes must follow a number of actions, including:

• Notifying the Health Unit when migrant and/or TFWs will be arriving at the farm

• Ensuring that all current and future employees are working exclusively at one workplace. Employees or contracted employees who are employed at more than one agricultural farm operation must immediately limit this to one farm.

• Ensuring that all TFWs who have arrived in Canada are in quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival in Canada as per the Quarantine Act and that no TFW works on any farm until after the completion of the quarantine period.

• Ensuring that TFWs in quarantine are in accommodations that have been inspected by the Health Unit and has provisions for laundry and cleaning. Owners and operators are also required to ensure grocery supplies and/or meals are provided to TFWs in quarantine.

• Following any directions provided by the Health Unit pertaining to COVID-19, including adherence to self-isolation orders issued to employees, ensuring that public health measures are maintained at all times in the workplace, and supporting all aspects of investigations related to communicable diseases conducted by the Health Unit.

The Health Protection and Promotion Act authorizes the Medical Officer of Health to make a Class Order to address the risks presented by the potential spread of COVID-19. While most owners and operators of agricultural farms have been compliant with requirements, Dr. Noseworthy says this Order provides the Health Unit with a proactive legal measure to strengthen its ability to prevent the spread of the virus and ensure the health of essential food workers.

“We have been working closely with our farm operators throughout the pandemic response and we are pleased that we have not seen outbreaks similar to those experienced in other parts of the province,” Dr. Noseworthy says. “If we all continue to work together, we can keep each other safe.”

To learn more about the Class Section 22 Order, visit the Health Unit’s website at www.hkpr.on.ca or call 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.

 

 

CLASS ORDER
Made pursuant to section 22(5.0.1) of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA), R.S.O. 1990, c.H.7, as amended
DATE: July 9, 2020

TO: All owners and operators of agricultural farms in the Haliburton and Northumberland counties and the City of Kawartha Lakes who:

a. Employ migrant farm workers in any capacity,

b. Participate in the federal Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program, OR

c. Operate any model of seasonal housing accommodations.

WHEREAS under Section 22 (5.0.1) of the HPPA, a Medical Officer of Health may make an order to a class of persons who reside or are present in the health unit served by the Medical Officer of Health to take or to refrain from taking any action that is specified in the order in respect to a communicable disease;

AND HAVING REGARD TO data available to the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPRDHU), indicating that there is a high risk of increasing spread of COVID-19 within agricultural farms in the counties of Northumberland and Haliburton and the City of Kawartha Lakes.

I AM THEREFORE OF THE OPINION that there exists or may exist a risk to the health of persons residing in the counties of Northumberland and Haliburton and the City of Kawartha Lakes arising from the arrival of migrant farm workers and that the measures specified in this Order are necessary to decrease or eliminate the risks to health associated with the arrival of migrant farm workers and COVID-19.

THEREFORE I, Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, Medical Officer of Health, for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, ORDER YOU TO TAKE THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS, effective 12:00 p.m. (noon) on July 9, 2020:
1. Notify the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit when you come aware that migrant and/or TFWs will be arriving to your agricultural farm and provide said date to the health unit in advance of the workers arrival.

2. Ensure that all employees current or future are exclusively working within one workplace. Employees who are employed at more than one agricultural farm operation must immediately limit this to one agricultural farm.

3. Ensure that any contracted employees current or future are exclusively working for one agricultural farm operation. Individuals who have been contracted by more than one farm operation at a time must immediately limit this to one premise.

4. Ensure that all TFWs who have arrived in Canada are isolated for 14 days from the date of arrival in Canada as per the Quarantine Act.

5. Keep a list of names of all TFWs scheduled to arrive in Canada, their planned date of arrival and a
plan for isolation of the TFWs.

6. Ensure TFWs in quarantine are kept at a minimum of 2 metres apart from other employees or provide a separate room or alternative accommodation for the TFWs in isolation.

7. Ensure that no TFW works on any farm until after the completion of their 14-day quarantine period.

8. Ensure that grocery supplies and/or meals are provided to TFWs completing quarantine requirements.

9. Ensure that TFWs in quarantine have adequate provisions in place for laundry and cleaning.

10. Ensure that accurate and updated contact information for all employees (permanent, temporary, or contract) is available to be produced to HKPRDHU within 24 hours of request in support of case management and contact tracing requirements.

11. Follow any directions provided to you by HKPRDHU pertaining to COVID-19 and the terms of this Order. This may include ensuring adherence to self-isolation orders issued to employees, ensuring that required public health measures such as active screening and physical distancing are maintained at all times within your workplace, and supporting all aspects of investigations related to communicable diseases, including COVID-19, conducted by the HKPRDHU.

12. No TFW can be moved into a non-inspected living accommodation without notification and approval from the HKPRDHU.

13. Ensure that HKPRDHU is contacted for approval if renovations occur within pre-existing and approved living accommodations that impact floor space, number of faucets, toilets, showers, and/or bathtubs.

14. Ensure HKPRDHU is notified should owners, operators and/or any employees become symptomatic with COVID-19-like symptoms.

15. Ensure that all individuals are available to be contacted promptly by HKPRDHU for case and contact management as required and that any individuals under HKPRDHU supervision for case and contact management have ongoing access to communication devices (cellular phone or landline) and this contact information is made available to HKPRDHU at all times.

16. Ensure cooperation and compliance with HKPRDHU with regards to prevention of COVID-19 outbreaks on your premises and ensure prompt communication and compliance with all HKPRDHU imposed outbreak measures as required.

17. Notify HKPRDHU if any TFW needs to leave the farm/isolation location for ANY reason during the 14-day isolation period, such as to seek medical attention.

18. Ensure that all known instances of non-compliance with the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, Quarantine Act or isolation requirements are reported immediately to the appropriate agency.

TAKE NOTICE THAT each member of the class to whom this Order is directed is entitled to a hearing by the Health Services Appeal and Review Board if the member has delivered notice in writing to me (at the address below) and to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board (at 151 Bloor Street West, 9th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1S4) requesting a hearing within 15 days after publication of this Order or otherwise in accordance with applicable law.

All requests for review, submissions, materials, and inquiries should be sent to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board by e-mail to hsarb@ontario.ca or faxed to the Board at 416- 327-8524.

AND TAKE FURTHER NOTICE THAT although a hearing may be requested this Order takes effect when it is delivered to a member of the class or brought to the attention of a member of the class.

FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THIS ORDER may result in further legal action being taken against you under sections 36(2), 35, 102 and other relevant provisions of the HPPA.

FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THIS ORDER is an offence under section 101 of the HPPA for which you may be liable, on conviction, to a fine of not more than $5,000.00 (for a person) or not more than that $25,000.00 (for a corporation) for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.

A. Lynn Noseworthy, MD, MHSc, FRCPC Medical Officer of Health, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit 200 Rose Glen Road, Port Hope, Ontario L1A 3V6

This Order shall be posted on the HKPR District Health Unit website: hkpr.on.ca

Inquiries about this Order should be directed to the HKPR District Health Unit at 1-866-8884577 ext. 5020

 

Section 22 Class Order Re: Farms Employing Migrant Workers and Temporary Foreign Workers – July 9, 2020

Under what authority did the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (HKPR) District Health Unit issue a Class Order related to Temporary Foreign Workers living and working in its region?
The Health Protection and Promotion Act authorizes the Medical Officer of Health to issue a Class Order to address the risks presented by the potential spread of COVID-19 to Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) residing and working in Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes.

Why did the Medical Officer of Health issue this Class Order?
Based on the increasing number of large COVID-19 outbreaks at agricultural workplaces employing TFWs in other parts of Ontario, this Class Order is a targeted proactive measure that will strengthen the Health Unit’s ability to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of essential food sector workers.
While most people and employers have been compliant with instructions from public health authorities, there are individuals who do not take these measures seriously enough. This Class Order is a legal tool to help ensure agricultural farm owners/operators and staff comply with the directions set out in the Order.

Who is required to comply with this Order?
The Order applies to all owners/operators of agricultural farm operations who employ migrant workers, including TFWs, and who provide any model of seasonal housing accommodations.

When is the Order effective? How long must people comply with the Order?
The Order is effective from 12 pm noon on July 9, 2020 and will remain in effect until the Medical Officer of Health determines it is no longer required.

What does the Order include?
Farm owners/operators who employ TFWs are required to comply with any direction provided to them by the HKPR District Health Unit which may include ensuring adherence to self-isolation orders issued to employees, ensuring public health measures are followed, ensuring housing accommodations are inspected prior to the arrival of workers. Farm owners/operators are also required to ensure that workers who are under the case and contact management of the HKPR District Health Unit are provided access to communication devices and that information is shared with the Health Unit upon request.
The Order also requires anyone working in the agricultural sector to limit their employment to only one workplace.

How do temporary foreign workers self-isolate?
Employers are required to provide isolation accommodations for all TFWs that allow for physical distancing for the required 14-day quarantine period after arrival in Canada. Workers are housed in hotels or inspected housing accommodations. Employers are provided with resources prior to the workers’ arrival which are to be shared with all workers. Information to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, as well as contact information of who to call if a worker becomes symptomatic, can be found on the Health Unit’s website: www.hkpr.on.ca

How can the Order be enforced if a person or employer fails to comply?
Individuals and employers who are working on agricultural farms are required to follow the requirements under this Order. Those who do not do so can be charged and fined up to $5,000 per day. Corporations who are found in violation of the Order can be charged and fined up to $25,000 per day.

Can a person challenge the Order?
Individuals identified in this Class Order may challenge it by appealing to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board. To reach the Board, visit: http://www.hsarb.on.ca/scripts/english/contact.asp

How does the Medical Officer’s of Health Class Order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act differ from what’s included in the federal government’s Quarantine Act?
The federal government’s Quarantine Act order was aimed at all travellers entering Canada, effective March 25, 2020. That order also imposes a 14-day home quarantine on travellers; including TFWs regardless of whether they have symptoms of COVID

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

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