OFA represents the interests of Ontario’s farm businesses – the employers of farm labour. In that role, we take our obligations to farm workers seriously and believe that all farm workers, from both Canada and abroad, should be treated with dignity and respect, and be provided with a safe, fair and rewarding work environment.
Agricultural workplaces may involve close interactions with livestock, large and complex equipment and dangerous chemicals. It can be hazardous for farm operators, employees, family members and visitors. However, each Ontario farm operation is unique and requires a flexible and suited approach to ensuring employee health and safety and to matching human resources with the demands of farming.
OFA believes that legislated workplace standards must be sufficiently flexible to balance the challenges of agricultural production with the needs of farm workers. Farm workplaces are different due to:
- Work with living organisms
- The seasonal nature of agricultural (food) production
- High dependence on accommodating weather
- Working with fragile and perishable product
The current application of workplace legislation to the agricultural sector provides the necessary flexibility to accommodate these factors and must be maintained.
While the OFA supports the principle of providing jobs to Canadians first, foreign labour is also required to fill a significant and ever increasing shortfall in farm labour. OFA supports access to foreign agricultural labour, provided there is a shortage of Canadian workers seeking agricultural employment.