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Canada relaxes travel restrictions for temporary foreign workers to alleviate COVID-19 labour shortage

To minimise potential labour shortages due to COVID-19, the Federal Government has relaxed travel restrictions on foreign workers entering Canada.

23 March 2020, at 10:46am

On Friday the Federal Government confirmed, despite travel restrictions implemented to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary foreign workers will be permitted to enter Canada.

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says this is great news for farmers who need them to cultivate fields and food businesses who desperately need them in their food processing plants.

"This is nothing less than a matter of food security," says Bibeau in an interview with Farmscape.

"The next step will be to work with the countries where the workers come from to ensure the permission to fly on planes that will be chartered by industry and paid by the employers who will get them.

"In the meantime, along with sector representatives and our colleagues in the provinces, we will finalise the protocols for supervised isolation.

"Every employer will have the responsibility to put in place a strict isolation protocol of 14 days and if they don't, they would forfeit the right to hire foreign workers for the coming years.

"In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic I want to reassure everyone that we are taking all the measures necessary to protect your health while also ensuring that you have access to fresh fruits and vegetables and high quality food products on the shelves of your grocery stores.

"During these difficult times I want to sincerely thank the workers in the agriculture and agri-food sectors, the men and women who farm our land, the folks who work in food processing plants, grocery store owners and their employees, truck drivers, volunteers working in food banks and food delivery services and everyone who, despite the concern, goes to work every day so the rest of us can have food to eat.

"They are nothing short of heroes and during these times we see how essential they are to our country."

Bibeau stresses there will always be jobs available for Canadians who want to work in our food sector.

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