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Canadian government invests in additional COVID-19 protections for agriculture workers

The Government of Canada has invested $1.9 million to further protect farm workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

15 November 2020, at 7:00am

The Government of Canada recognises the critical role of the food supply chain and is committed to improving the safety of these workplaces.

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced that applications are now being accepted for Manitoba farmers under the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund. This $1.9 million investment will help farmers to better protect the health and safety of farm workers in Manitoba during the COVID-19 outbreak. Applications will be accepted starting 10 November.

Minister Bibeau said, "Everyone needs to feel safe and supported when they go to work. Protecting the health and well-being of all farm workers who are helping ensure the food security for Canadians has been a top priority since the beginning of the pandemic. With this program, Manitoba farmers will have the support they need to ensure the right measures are in place to safeguard their employees’ health and safety and limit the spread of the virus.”

Eligible activities include direct infrastructure improvements to living quarters and work stations, temporary or emergency housing (on or off-farm), as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitary stations, work stations and any other health and safety measures that safeguard the health and safety of Canadian and temporary foreign workers from COVID-19.

Contributions under the AAFC-managed programme will be cost-shared 50:50 with the applicants up to $100,000. An additional 10 percent will be provided to women, youth, visible minorities, Indigenous Peoples, and Persons with disabilities, amounting to a 60:40 split as the Government of Canada promotes and empowers underrepresented groups in the agricultural sector.

Background

  • The Government of Canada is investing $35 million to improve health and safety on farms through the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund.
  • The $1.9 million investment is based on an estimate of up to 259 farms applying.
  • 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 temporary foreign workers are aware of their obligations and respect the rules in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.
  • This announcement builds on the measures the Government has introduced to keep Canada’s agri-workforce strong, including:
    • Travel exemptions for all migrant workers, including seasonal agricultural workers and fish/seafood workers.
    • $50 million in funding for the Mandatory Isolation Support Programme for Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) to help protect the health and safety of migrant workers in farming, fish harvesting, and food production by helping processing sectors cover the incremental costs associated with the mandatory 14-day isolation period imposed under the Quarantine Act on migrant workers entering Canada.
    • The Emergency Processing Fund (EPF), a one-time, federal investment of up to $77.5 million to help companies implement changes to safeguard the health and safety of workers and their families due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund also aims to aid companies to invest to improve, automate and modernise facilities needed to increase Canada’s food supply capacity.