Housing Seasonal Agricultural Workers
Any accommodation you provide for seasonal agricultural workers must meet provincial environmental health and safety requirements, i.e. kept in good repair, in a clean and sanitary condition, and free from vermin and rodent infestation. The federal government requires a provincial inspection report before processing your migrant or temporary worker application.
How do I request a housing inspection?
Once you have the accommodation prepared, complete the online request for Environmental Health inspection at Request Inspection Online: Seasonal Worker Accommodations.
What inspection criteria are used to assess the building?
Any property used for housing migrant workers will be assessed using the following criteria:
Potable Water and Sewage Disposal
An adequate supply of hot and cold potable water under adequate pressure is required.
- Private water supplies must be tested at least once every 12 months for bacteriological analysis and meet the requirements outlined in the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.
The dwelling must be connected to a properly functioning private or municipal sewage disposal system.
- The dwelling must be located at least 30m (100 ft) from any building used to shelter animals or poultry, store flammable materials or is likely to cause an offensive environmental condition or a condition that may be hazardous to health.
- Skirting should be installed around the bottom perimeter of a mobile home for rodent control.
- Exterior surfaces must be in good working condition, weatherproof, pest proof and free from trip hazards.
- At minimum, 7.4m2 (80ft2) of total usable floor area is required per individual.
- Walls extend at least 2.1m (7ft) above floor level.
- Interior surfaces must be in good condition and pest proof.
- The dwelling must be maintained in a sanitary condition.
- Basic furnishings should be compatible for intended occupancy and be sanitary and in good repair.
- Access to a telephone is required in case of an emergency.
- A minimum indoor temperature of 20oC (68oF) must be able to be maintained.
- A heating source must be operational and meet provincial or municipal building and fire safety codes.
- Lighting, natural and artificial, is to be provided.
- Adequate ventilation (natural or artificial) is required.
- Screens are required on openings directly to the outside (May 1 – November 1) and must be in good condition.
- Sufficient kitchen appliances, supplies and equipment must be provided to store, prepare and/or serve food compatible with the intended occupancy of the dwelling and must be sanitary and in good working condition.
- At minimum one refrigerator and one stove/oven are required for every 6 individuals.
- Refrigerators must be able to hold potentially hazardous foods at 4oC (40oF) or colder.
- Sleeping areas must be separate from other living areas and beds must be located in the sleeping areas.
- There must be an appropriate number of beds present for the intended occupancy.
- At minimum 8.5m3 (300ft3) of air space is required per individual in a sleeping area.
- If walls extend past 2.4m (8ft) above floor level, 2.4m (8ft) will be used for the calculation of air space.
- A separate bed is required for every worker and must:
- include, at minimum a twin-size mattress (99 x 109cm / 38 x 75in) and appropriately sized bed frame;
- be at least 30cm (12in) above the floor and 46cm (18in) from the next bed (when not lengthwise along the wall);
- be equipped with a clean mattress, pillow and bedding.
- A locker, shelf, dresser, or equivalent must be provided for each individual to store personal belongings off the floor.
- One washroom, which consists of at least one sink, one shower and one toilet, is required for every 6 individuals housed.
- The shower must have a privacy barrier and toilet paper must be provided.
- Towels and face cloths must be provided and compatible with the intended occupancy of the dwelling.
- Adequate facilities must be available to wash and dry laundry.
- One washer is required for every 10 individuals housed.
The employer is responsible for ensuring that the dwelling meets the Fire Prevention Act Codes and Standards Order.
- At least one charged ABC fire extinguisher is to be present in the kitchen.
- Have a professional fire protection company inspect it yearly.
- Refill after any use.
- A smoke alarm is required on every level of the home.
- Recommended to have at least one smoke alarm outside each sleeping area and in all bedrooms.
- Each room used for sleeping must have at least one window or door that easily opens directly to the outside.
- Must provide an unobstructed opening of at least 0.35m2 (3.8ft2).
- If a window opens into a window well, a clearance of at least 76cm (30in) is required in front of the window.
- Windowsills for windows which are an emergency exit should be no more than 1.5m (4.9ft) from the floor.
- In situations where this is not possible (e.g. basement), access to the window should be improved by means like a built-in step.
- If an emergency exit is over 6m (20ft) from the grade, a fire escape is required.