The federal and Ontario agricultural ministers announced on Tuesday funding to help agri-food workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The province says a new agreement will see $11.6 million go toward helping producers stop the spread of the virus on their farms.
"Everyone needs to feel safe and supported when they go to work," said federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau during a virtual press announcement Tuesday.
"Applications are now open for Ontario farmers to access the new Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program."
The government says building physical barriers for worker separation, upgrading HVAC systems, improving hand washing facilities and worker-accommodation are all actions that will be eligible for the funding.
"Overall, the fund will cover 50 per cent of the cost of safety measures and the remaining cost covered by applicants," said the minister.
That coverage caps at $15,000 for claims made by farmers — double what the program was to previously offer.
The program is also offering funding of up to $100,000 for small capital projects like housing or workplace modifications that enhance safety.
Farm owners and operators will be able to apply for the funding beginning today, through the Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program, said Bibeau.
Applications will then be reviewed as they come in and funding will be prioritized to those applicants "with the priority for the highest-risk farm for COVID-19 outbreaks."
According to the province, this funding will be in addition to the up-to $15-million the Ontario government promised to the sector back in June.
"The COVID-19 outbreak has reminded us all of the importance of our food supply chain and how much we rely on Ontario farmers to keep it strong," said Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman.
"We need to do our part to support their efforts."