Government of Canada Announces Funding for Continued Support for the COVID-19 Agri-Worker Isolation and Recovery Centre in Windsor, Ontario

News release

March 30, 2021 | Windsor, ON | Public Health Agency of Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to reducing the spread of COVID-19 and the variants of concern in Canada. Self-isolation is one of the most effective ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19. However, for some individuals, crowded housing conditions and restrictive costs can make it unsafe or impossible to self-isolate, increasing the risk of community transmission.

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced that the federal government will be supporting the operation of a Safe Voluntary Isolation Site for temporary foreign agri-workers in Windsor-Essex. These workers tend to live in close accommodations and work in congregate settings, which makes it difficult to self-isolate if required. This funding will provide further federal support for the Isolation and Recovery Site, currently operated by the Canadian Red Cross through funding provided by Public Safety Canada.

Voluntary Isolation Sites reduce the risks of spread of COVID-19 among household contacts, especially in locations where people face crowded housing conditions. These sites are one of the rapid response tools helping stop the spread of COVID-19, and can be deployed to communities facing outbreaks.

The Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program fills a gap for cities, municipalities, and health regions that are at-risk of high rates of transmission, as we know that people living in crowded housing and congregate settings are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and are more at risk for severe outcomes.

Sites selected under the Program provide a location for local public health officials to refer people to who need to safely self-isolate.

Quotes

“Protecting essential workers, especially those who are supporting Canada’s food chain and economy, is critical. Today’s announcement of a safe, voluntary isolation site in Windsor-Essex means that we can help protect temporary foreign workers in the region from the spread of COVID-19 and variants of concern – something that will benefit everyone in these communities.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

“Windsor-Essex will welcome thousands of agricultural workers in the coming weeks and months. This critical federal funding will provide local public health officials with a reliable isolation site for those who are unable to quarantine safely. Thank you to Health Minister Patty Hajdu and the federal government for recognizing the unique challenges our community faces and always standing up for Windsor-Essex.”

Irek Kusmierczyk
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
Member of Parliament for Windsor—Tecumseh

“We are grateful to the federal Government and the Public Health Agency of Canada for standing with the City of Windsor as we continue to manage through this deadly pandemic. Ensuring a safe space for migrant workers to isolate when required helps keep everyone in the City of Windsor and the County of Essex safe.”

Drew Dilkens, Mayor
City of Windsor

“We are pleased to be working in support of the federal and municipal governments to continue to provide this essential service to individuals who require self-isolation. For the past 10 months, the Red Cross has been providing comfort and care services to those in isolation. Our team remains committed to ensuring their needs are addressed when they need it most.”

Tanya Elliott, Vice President, Ontario
Canadian Red Cross

Quick facts

  • The funding of $17.8 million, over 12 months, will allow the City of Windsor to operate a 125-room site to accommodate temporary foreign agri-workers in Windsor and Essex County who are unable to safely self-isolate at their usual place of residence.

  • To ensure that temporary foreign agri-workers have continued access to accommodations that keep them and the communities safe, the funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada under the Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program, will begin on April 1, 2021.

  • Each year, more than 8,000 international workers travel into Windsor-Essex to support local farm and greenhouse industries.

  • Local public health officials identify eligible individuals who may be offered the option to transfer to the isolation site on a voluntary basis. As part of Canada’s growing list of rapid response tools against the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada is providing a total of $100 million in funding to municipalities and health regions to establish Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites across the country.

  • To date, the program has provided $72.2 million in funding to support projects in Ontario, which totals approximately 2140 rooms in the province.

  • Regular monitoring and reporting of each safe voluntary isolate site will be conducted in coordination with local public health officials and third-party site operators.

  • The sharing of best practices will be encouraged among the selected isolation sites to optimize effective site operation and the administration of services to individuals who access the sites.

  • To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Canadians are advised to follow local public health measures, avoid places that do not have controls in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and to stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms.

Associated links

Contacts

Cole Davidson
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
613-957-2983
hc.media.sc@canada.ca

COVID-19 public enquiries:
1-833-784-4397

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