Last Updated on April 15, 2020
Canada has announced a $50 million fund to help employers of Temporary Foreign Workers who are required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Agriculture and agri-food employers are to receive $1,500 per Temporary Foreign Worker, provided isolation requirements are fully met.
The announcement came after the federal government exempted TFWs from Canada’s travel restrictions, designed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.
Canada’s federal government, through Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, said 15,000 agriculture jobs remain vacant. The sector receives 60,000 TFWs each year, an estimated 60 per cent of the total number who enter the country through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
Employers are expected to enforce the self-isolation order, and could face penalties and be banned from the TFWP if they fail to comply.
Coronavirus: Chartered Flights Bringing Important Temporary Foreign Workers To Canada
UPDATED Coronavirus: How Canada’s Provincial Immigration Programs Are Reacting
Coronavirus: Priority Canada Work Permits For These Agriculture Occupations
As of March 26, TFWs can travel to Canada as part of exemptions to COVID-19 travel restrictions. They must pass a health test before travelling and self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
Canada is currently prioritizing Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and work permit processing for the following occupations that are crucial to the food supply chain:
- NOC 6331 – Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers – retail and wholesale
- NOC 7511 – Transport truck drivers
- NOC 8252 – Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
- NOC 8431 – General farm workers
- NOC 8432 – Nursery and greenhouse workers
- NOC 8611 – Harvesting labourers
- NOC 9463 – Fish and seafood plant workers
- NOC 9617 – Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing
- NOC 9618 – Labourers in fish and seafood processing
- NOC 9462 – Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers
Canada has also waived the two-week recruitment requirement for LMIAs in key agriculture and agri-food occupations, until October 31, 2020. The maximum duration of employment under LMIAs has been increased from one to two years in the low-wage stream.