Agriculture and supply chain part of essential service list

COVID-19 driven shut down of non-essential Ontario businesses to start at the end of Tuesday

Premier Ford makes the announcement of the closure of non-essential businesses on March 23.
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Updated March 23, 9 p.m. to include details about essential service listing and agriculture businesses.

Ontario’s non-essential businesses will be shut down as of midnight Tuesday night in order to continue to fight COVID-19.

Alist released late Monday, March 23 includes farmers and the agriculture supply chain on the essential list.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford made the announcement on Monday, March 23 due to the continued spread of COVID-19 that non-essential businesses would have to shut down. Businesses will have 36 hours from the time of the announcement before they will have to close. Some businesses will be able to continue to run from employees working at home, but many more will not. The order will be in effect for 14 days and Ford said they will consider extending it if necessary.


Why it matters: The closing of non-essential businesses is the next step in the ratcheting down of the ability of people to interact, as the virus infections continue to grow.


The descriptions on the province’s website on the order include the following under Agriculture and food production that are considered essential:

  • Businesses that farm, harvest, process, manufacture, produce or distribute food, including beverages, crops, animal products and by-products, aquaculture, hunting and fishing;
  • Businesses that support the food supply chain including assembly yards, livestock auctions, food distribution hubs, feed mills, farm equipment suppliers, feed suppliers, food terminals and warehouses, animal slaughter plants and grain elevators;
  • Business that support the safety of food including animal and plant health and animal welfare;
  • Businesses that provide veterinary services, and that supply veterinary and animal control medications and related supplies and testing kits;
  • Businesses that help to ensure safe and effective waste management including deadstock, rendering, nutrient management, bio hazardous materials, green waste, packaging recycling.

“This is a very very tough decision, but it is the right decision,” said Premier Doug Ford, March 23. “This is not the time for half measures. The gravity of this order does not escape me. As I said from Day 1, we will and we must take every step necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19. It means food will remain on the shelves,” Ford said in his remarks.

About the author


John Greig

John Greig has spent his career in agriculture journalism and communications. He lives on a farm near Ailsa Craig, Ontario. Contact John at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jgreig



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