Canada exempts seasonal agricultural workers from travel restrictions
Marie-Claude Bibeau speaking at a recent Canadian Horticultural Council event
Photo: @mclaudebibeau on Twitter

Canada exempts seasonal agricultural workers from travel restrictions

The government issued the restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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March 23, 2020

In a press release issued on Friday, the Canadian government announced that it would not be restricting travel for seasonal agricultural workers amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

“The participation of temporary foreign workers on our farms and our food businesses is absolutely necessary. It is nothing less than an issue of food security,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food, said per the release. “We are making sure that our food supply chain is not compromised by the closure of our borders, as we now need thousands of workers on the farms for the planting season as well as the processing of foods from the land and sea.”

Additionally, Bibeau stated that employers are responsible for making sure their employees are healthy when they arrive in the country and practice self-isolation measures. If employers do not follow the guidelines, they could lose their ability to hire foreign labor in future years. 

Bibeau also announced that the Labour Market Impact Assessment would be waived for the six months and that the maximum employment duration was being increased to two years from one year. 

“There will always be opportunities available for Canadians interested in stepping forward to work on our farms and in food processing plants,” Bibeau said. “The over 60,000 temporary foreign workers who come to Canada to work in our agriculture and agri-food sector are crucial to our food security and our rural economies.”