The Government of Canada will allow temporary foreign workers, including Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), working in Canada’s agricultural sector, to return to Canada, the CBC reports.
OFWS & INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS TO BE ALLOWED TO RETURN CANADA
This includes any temporary foreign worker with a valid Work Permit who already has a visa.
This also applies to International Students who have valid Study Permits, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.
The province of Quebec, where Canadian employers hire more than 16,000 temporary foreign workers from all over the world, has farms that are critical to Canada’s fruit and vegetable production.
Canadian employers have been asking the Government of Canada to make an exception after the country’s border were closed to everyone except Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
AGRICULTURAL SECTOR PARTICULARLY AT RISK DURING COVID-19 BAN
Québec’s largest farmers’ union, the UPA said in a statement that barring the entry of temporary foreign workers would “jeopardize the entire production season”.
The UPA also said that the Government of Canada made the right decision in allowing temporary foreign workers to return to Canada.
While most of the temporary foreign workers in the farm industry come from Latin American countries including Mexico, foreign workers under different programs including Caregivers are expected to be included in the exemption.
Protocols for the exemption have not yet been finalized.
With planting season set to begin in the next several weeks, the organization that manages the recruitment of temporary foreign workers for the agricultural sector in Québec said that there’s no time to waste.
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has had a profound effect on local employment.
The UPA encouraged unemployed Canadians looking for a job to contact their local agricultural employment centre.
CANADA CONTINUES TO SUFFER FROM CHRONIC LABOUR SHORTAGE
Canada suffers from chronic labour shortages, including in the agricultural sector. The current pandemic is not expected to make things any easier.
All temporary foreign workers who enter Canada will be screened, and those exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board any aircraft bound for Canada. They will also be required to self-isolate for 14 days before starting employment.
The fishing industry in Québec also relies on temporary foreign workers, with more than 1,200 foreign nationals working in Eastern Québec.
Canadian employers are ready to work closely with the Government of Canada to put all the necessary protocols in place.
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