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Federal Government Announces Additional Measures To Help Farms Deal With COVID-19

There have been COVID-19 outbreaks on a number of Canadian farms that have significantly impacted the health and safety of workers.
 
On Friday, the federal government announced that it's taking additional action to reduce the incidence and impact of COVID-19 outbreaks on farms.
 
“We care deeply about the well-being of all farm workers, who are helping ensure the food security of Canadians. During the exceptional circumstances of COVID-19, we want to help farmers adapt and improve the employment conditions of all their employees as well as the living environment of temporary foreign workers," said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
 
With an investment of $58.6 million, the Government is strengthening the TFW Program and making further investments to safeguard the health and safety of Canadian and temporary foreign workers from COVID-19 by:
 
- Investing $7.4 million to increase supports to temporary foreign workers, including $6.0M for direct outreach to workers delivered through migrant worker support organizations;
- Strengthening the employer inspections regime, particularly on farms, and making improvements to how tips and allegations of employer non-compliance are addressed (such as by initiating an inspection) through an investment of $16.2 million; and
- Investing $35 million to improve health and safety on farms and in employee living quarters to prevent and respond to the spread of COVID-19. This will go toward direct infrastructure improvements to living quarters, temporary or emergency housing (on- or off-farm), as well as PPE, sanitary stations, and any other health and safety measures. Non-repayable contributions will be cost-shared 50:50 with the applicants.
 
The Government will also work to develop mandatory requirements to improve employer-provided accommodations, focusing on ensuring better living conditions for workers.
 
On April 13, the Government of Canada announced the $50 million Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program which provides farmers and food processors up to $1,500 per worker to help pay for the costs related to meeting the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. Eligible costs 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.
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