International Agricultural Workers

International agricultural workers are considered essential workers that come to Ontario to work in the seasonal agricultural sector.


Housing accommodations for international agricultural workers must be inspected by Niagara Region Public Health and Emergency Services and comply with all local building, fire and zoning requirements before the worker arrives.

Owners / operators should consult with their city / town, including the municipal building and fire departments, before requesting an inspection from Public Health.

It is the owner / operator's responsibility to ensure that housing accommodations follow the Ontario Building Code and Ontario Fire Code.

Each year, Public Health inspectors ensure that suitable housing conditions are provided for international agricultural workers.

To achieve this, our inspectors make sure that the owners / operators of these homes follow the 2010 Ontario Housing Guidelines and any other requirements set by Service Canada and F.A.R.M.S. to ensure worker safety.

Inspection and approval process

To arrange for an inspection, contact Niagara Region Public Health and Emergency Services. A seasonal housing inspection must be requested three to four months before the expected arrival date of the workers.

To prepare for your inspection, learn about some of the requirements. The Public Health inspector will verify:

  • Garbage

    Sufficient rodent / pest proof garbage containers are provided.

    Garbage is collected and removed from property at least once per week.

  • Kitchen

    Food storage is adequate with sufficient cupboard space and kitchenware provided.

    The fridge temperature does not exceed 4 C.

  • Maintenance

    The inside and outside of the accommodations are in good condition and rodent / pest proof.

    Lighting and ventilation is sufficient and screens are on windows from May to November.

  • Sleeping facilities

    Bedrooms are separated from other living areas and separate beds are provided for each worker.

    Workers must have:

    • Mattresses
    • Sheets and blankets
    • Pillows and pillowcases
    • Adequate shelf space for storage
  • Safety

    Smoke alarm(s) and fire extinguisher(s) are present.

    The Ontario Fire Code is enforced by the local fire department and should be contacted for any questions.

  • Sewage

    Sewage is disposed of in a permitted manner.

    If on a private system, sewage must be approved by the city / town or Niagara Region Growth Strategy and Economic Development.

  • Washroom and laundry facilities

    Washrooms are in good working order and maintained in a sanitary manner.

    Sufficient toilets, showers, sinks, washers and dryers are available.

  • Water supply

    Potable hot and cold running water is provided.

    If the water is supplied by a private well or cistern, a Public Health inspector will take a water sample while on-site to ensure it's potable and safe for consumption.

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