Human Resources

COVID-19 in the Workplace

Social distancing in Food production/processing facility and food retail establishment where employees typically work within close distances

To prevent spread of COVID-19, the Public Health Agency of Canada is recommending individuals employ social distancing or maintaining approximately 2 meters (6 feet) from others, when possible. Social distancing of no less than 2 metres is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of illness during the COVID-19 outbreak. In food production/processing facilities, efforts should be made to identify and implement operational changes that increase employee separation.

Social distancing to the full 2 metres may not always be possible in some food facilities. The risk of an employee transmitting COVID-19 to another in the same facility is dependent namely on the distance between employees, the duration of the exposure, and the effectiveness of employee hygiene practices and sanitation. When it’s impractical for employees in these settings to maintain social distancing, effective hygiene practices are to be maintained to reduce the chance of spreading the virus.

Food production/processing facilities and establishments should consider:

  • assessing the workplace for areas where people have frequent contact with each other and share spaces and objects, and increasing the frequency of cleaning in these areas
  • finding ways that employees can practice social distancing, such as increasing distance between people in line-ups and workstations

Consult the risk-informed decision-making guidelines for workplaces and businesses to learn how to protect employees and customers in the workplace.

Social distancing during lunch breaks, staggering breaks etc. is strongly recommended. Sanitizing tables and microwaves and common areas, dressing rooms, entry points for checking in and out. You may consider marking areas on the floor, chairs, tables to identify the distance, and where persons should stand or sit.

Workers in the food and agriculture sector fill critical and essential roles within communities. Promoting the ability of our workers within the food and agriculture industry to continue to work during periods of community restrictions, social distances, and closure orders, among others, is crucial to community continuity and community resilience.

N95’s are not required unless the person has or is working with someone with COVID 19. Since, this is not the case, except for health care workers, an N95 is not currently required.

IMPORTANT: Maintaining social distancing in the absence of effective hygiene practices may not prevent the spread of this virus. Food facilities should be vigilant in their hygiene practices, including frequent and proper hand-washing and routine cleaning of all surfaces.

Because the intensity of the COVID-19 outbreak may differ according to geographic location, coordination with provincial and local officials is strongly encouraged for all businesses so that timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses in each location where their operations reside.

WSPS has great resources and information about work refusal and managing employees during Covid-19.

Please see the links below:

WSIB COVID-19 injury claims

9 suggestions to help avoid work refusals

Please see the below PowerPoint by Siskinds Labour Law:

Siskinds Labour Law COVID PowerPoint

And/or head to our Tip Sheet page for more:  Tip Sheets


Sample Letter to employees About COVID-19: DOWNLOAD