WINDSOR, ONT. -- The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) and its members “appreciate” the $58.6 million investment from the federal government to support temporary foreign workers.

In a news release issued Saturday, the OGVG thanked the Canadian government for the funding announced Friday to provide additional support and protection for workers.

“Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers and our members appreciate this new funding to boost protections for temporary foreign workers across Canada,” said Joe Sbrocchi, general manager of OGVG. “These measures will further help our members ensure the safety of workers on farm as well as assisting in further improvements to living quarters needed due to COVID-19."

Government officials said they are strengthening the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFW) by strengthening inspections, assisting employers to help manage costs of temporary housing and other costs incurred to minimize the impacts of outbreaks among workers, increasing funding to enable farmers to improve workplace health and safety on farms, and developing a national approach to employer-provided accommodations.

Officials plan to first consult with provinces and territories, employers, workers and foreign partner countries on a proposal for a national accommodations requirement in the coming months.

“All of our members want to keep their workers safe and healthy and continue growing food for all Canadians,” said George Gilvesy Chair of OGVG. “With this funding our farmers will have access to more resources to ensure that farm workers are healthy are safely housed.”

The additional funding would also support workers through direct outreach, enhancing living conditions, increased PPE supply and other health and safety measures to prevent and respond to COVID-19.

“We need the collective efforts of growers, governments and local health authorities to help farmers keep employees safe and maintain our food supply,” said Justine Taylor science and government relations manager with OGVG.

“Our greenhouse farmers are committed to continuing to work with government and health officials to protect the health and safety of our essential agricultural employees so they can continue to ensure locally grown fruits and vegetables are available year-round.”