Government of Canada extends support program for farmers and processors to protect temporary foreign workers' health and safety during pandemic
November 2, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau announced today that the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program will be extended until November 30, 2020.
The decision follows the Government of Canada's announcement to extend the Quarantine Act to the same date. The Act requires anyone arriving from outside Canada, including temporary foreign workers, to undergo a mandatory 14-day isolation period upon arriving in Canada.
The $50-million Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program is helping employers in the farming, fish harvesting, and food production and processing sectors with some of the incremental costs incurred to support the safety and health of foreign workers during that 14-day period.
Under the Program, the federal government will provide a maximum support of $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker, to employers who are required to isolate workers under the Quarantine Act. The funding is conditional on employers not being found in violation of the mandatory 14-day isolation protocols or any other public health order.
"Producers and processors across the country rely on experienced migrant workers to ensure a stable, nutritious and affordable food supply for Canadians. This pandemic has put additional strains on growers and processors, and our Government will continue to support them in these challenging times."
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Additional measures to support the safety of farmers and processors include:
- $77.5 million through the Emergency Processing Fund.
- $58 million to strengthen the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and make further investments to safeguard the health and safety of Canadian and foreign workers through the $35 million Emergency On-Farm Support Fund.
Eligible costs under the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program could include wages, food, benefits, transportation, housing, and other requirements to comply with the protocols under the Quarantine Act. In some cases, an employer's costs may exceed the $1,500 federal contribution per temporary foreign worker.
Temporary foreign workers play a vital role in the Canadian economy with approximately 50,000 to 60,000 foreign agricultural, food and fish processing workers coming to work in Canada each year, which accounts for more than 60% of all foreign workers entering Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
Most foreign workers who work on farms are located in Ontario (40%), Quebec (32%), B.C. (18%) and Nova Scotia (2.6%)
As part of its actions to protect the health and safety of foreign workers, the Government of Canada has been working with provinces and territories, as well as a range of partners and stakeholders, to ensure employers and foreign workers are aware of their obligations and respect the rules in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.
- Government extends international travel restrictions (PSC news release)
- Government of Canada invests in measures to boost protections for Temporary Foreign Workers and Address COVID-19 Outbreaks on Farms (ESDC news release)
- Keeping Canadians and workers in the food supply chain safe (AAFC news release)
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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