Employers Hiring Foreign Workers Receive Funding to Help Them Comply With COVID-19 Measures
In an effort to keep foreign workers safe upon their arrival in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has allocated $50 million in funding that will go towards helping employers comply with mandatory public health measures.
The funding will help employers meet health regulations that require them to keep foreign workers safe during the mandatory two-week quarantine period for anyone arriving in Canada from abroad during the pandemic.
While Canada has shut down its borders and is barring anyone from entering the country that is not a Canadian citizen, work permit holders have been exempted from this rule as they are essential to the food and agricultural sector – particularly fruit and vegetable farms and fish, seafood, and meat processing plants – which had already experienced severe labour shortages prior to COVID-19. In fact, more than 60 per cent of all foreign workers in Canada work in the agricultural sector.
“Temporary foreign works have long been key to our food supply,” said Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration in a recent press release. “We will work with farmers and food processing employers to ensure they get the workers they need and that plans are in place to meet mandatory isolation requirements.”
Going forward though, any foreign workers arriving in Canada must follow certain measures, including a 14-day isolation period at a location of their choice as soon as they reach their Port of Entry. Any travelers that are unable to present a credible quarantine plan – even if they are not showing symptoms of COVID-19 – will be required to spend the two-week isolation period in a hotel.
Employers are required to provide newly arrived foreign workers with transportation and accommodations along with access to food and basic sanitation supplies. They must monitor the health of any workers who are self-isolating regularly and cannot ask foreign workers to carry out work during the 14-day isolation period. However, they must still provide full pay and benefits.
To help employers meet these requirements, the government will provide up to $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker as long as the Quarantine Act is in force and the isolation protocol is in place. The funding is conditional on employers not violating the 14-day isolation or any other public health order. Employers and workers who do not comply will face fines, jail time or both.