Government of Canada Announces Funding for COVID-19 Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites in British Columbia

News release

November 26, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Public Health Agency of Canada

The Government of Canada is working with partners to protect the health and safety of Canadians and Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada, and to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and its variants in Canada. Self-isolation is one of the most effective ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19. However, for some people in Canada, crowded housing conditions and high costs can make it unsafe or impossible to self-isolate, putting themselves, their families and communities at risk through no fault of their own. 

Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced more than $5 million to support the following two projects in British Columbia, through the Government of Canada’s Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program:

  • an employer-based reimbursement program for agricultural workers living and working across British Columbia through the Government of British Columbia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries to help support agri-worker isolation needs; 
  • and a safe voluntary isolation site in the City of Surrey through the Fraser Health Authority.

Voluntary self isolation sites help people who have COVID-19—or have been exposed to it—access safe isolation accommodations to keep themselves and their community safe. These sites are in addition to the facilities available for people experiencing homelessness who need to isolate because of a positive test. 

Voluntary isolation sites reduce the risk of spreading the virus among household contacts in situations where people are faced with crowded housing and do not have an alternative. These sites are one of the rapid response tools established to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and can be deployed to communities facing outbreaks. 

The Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program directly supports cities, municipalities and health regions that are at-risk of COVID-19 community transmission. Sites selected under the Program provide an accessible location where people can safely self-isolate for the required period. Local public health officials determine eligible people who may be offered the option to transfer to the isolation site on a voluntary basis to keep them and their household contacts safe during an outbreak in their community. 


“Helping people to self-isolate when they don’t have the means to do so where they live is an important way to protect Canadians from COVID-19. The Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program supports municipalities across Canada, including these projects in British Columbia, so they can assist individuals to ensure they have safe places for self-isolation.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“Farmers need a secure labour force to provide British Columbians with the food we rely on, and the Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites program will help B.C. farmers continue to do so while keeping their employees and communities safe. Through efforts like this one, that complement the Province’s Temporary Foreign Worker isolation program, and the hard work and resilience of our farmers, fresh B.C. fruit and vegetables will continue to be easily available and enjoyed in communities throughout the province.”

Lana Popham, British Columbia Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries

“A number of residents in our communities live in crowded households where they are unable to isolate safely from others if they are infected with COVID-19. The Safe Voluntary Isolation Program can help support people to isolate more safely and prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the loved ones they live with.”

Dr. Aamir Bharmal, Fraser Health Medical Health Officer

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada is providing up to $5,080,989 in funding to two projects across British Columbia to operate two safe isolation sites projects, including:

    1. up to $4,150,000 in funding for the Government of British Columbia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries for an employer-based farm worker isolation program and funding available to support an emergency response to an outbreak in the agri-food sector; the funding can support up to an estimated 1,350 agricultural workers living and working across British Columbia to safely isolate and will be used on an as needed basis;
      • This program provides funding to agriculture employers who have farm workers residing on farm who required self isolation for COVID-19 reasons and did not have an appropriate space on the farm to do so.
      • Eligible employers may apply for reimbursement for expenses incurred from April 1, 2021 onwards for safely isolating worker(s) at a hotel/motel and providing daily needs.
    2. up to $930,989 in funding with one site totalling 20 rooms for the City of Surrey.
  • The Government of Canada is providing a total of approximately $100 million in funding to municipalities and health regions to establish safe voluntary isolation sites across the country. This funding is part of Canada’s rapid response to the spread of COVID-19.

  • To date, the Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program has provided $99.7 million to establish sites in Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Nova Scotia.

  • Since the first safe voluntary isolation site opened in Toronto in September 2020, approximately 10,792 people have sought access and support through one of the federally funded sites across the country.

  • Regular monitoring and reporting of safe voluntary isolation sites is conducted in coordination with local public health officials.

    The sharing of best practices is encouraged among the selected isolation sites to improve how the sites operate and how services are delivered to the people who access them.

    To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Canadians are advised to follow local public health measures, avoid places that do not have controls in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and to stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms.

Associated links


Marie-France Proulx
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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