April 27, 2020
Canadian Government Announces $50M to Keep Food Supply Chain Safe
The federal government has announced $50 million to help farmers, fish harvesters, and all food production and processing employers put in place the measures necessary to follow the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all workers arriving from abroad.
In many regions across Canada, producing a variety of quality foods to be sold at affordable prices relies on the contributions of experienced temporary foreign workers right from planting season to harvest.
- 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.
- Each year, despite the fact that the agricultural sector receives approximately 60,000 foreign workers, around 15,000 jobs remain vacant.
- No travellers including temporary foreign workers who present with COVID-19 symptoms are allowed to board international flights to Canada.
- This support is available for all food production firms that rely on temporary foreign workers, including primary agriculture and food processing, as well as fisheries and aquaculture.
“This is an important reason why the Government of Canada granted an exemption for temporary foreign workers from travel restrictions to Canada, along with other foreigners with student and work visas, provided they adhere to a strict 14-day isolation protocol upon arrival,” the statement said.
The government stated that those who do not comply with the Quarantine Act or the isolation protocol will face severe fines and sanctions. Under proposed changes, employers could also face significant penalties, and a possible ban from the program, if they prevent adherence to the self-isolation order.
In addition to the responsibility of paying the workers for the two weeks during which time they cannot work, many employers are also responsible for providing workers with transportation and accommodations, as well as access to food and basic supplies needed to meet all of the conditions imposed by public health authorities.
The federal government is providing support of $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker, to employers or those working with them to ensure requirements are fully met. The funding is conditional on employers not being found in violation of the mandatory 14-day isolation protocols or any other public health order. The program will be available as long as the Quarantine Act is in force and the isolation protocol is followed.