Canada and Nova Scotia Launch $1M Program to Protect Farm Workers

From: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The governments of Canada and Nova Scotia have reached a new agreement that will see the Government of Canada invest $983,500, for a total of up to $1,229,375 available funding, under the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund to protect farm workers in Nova Scotia. The federal funding will be delivered by the Nova Scotia’s Department of Agriculture.

Many Nova Scotia farmers are making improvements to health and safety measures to help protect all their workers, domestic and temporary foreign workers, and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their agricultural operations. They can now apply for funding to help cover some of these costs.

Applications are now open under the program for up to 75 per cent of eligible project costs, up to a maximum of $50,000. Eligible activities include direct infrastructure improvements to living quarters and work stations, temporary or emergency housing (on or off-farm), as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitary stations, work stations and any other health and safety measures that safeguard the health and safety of Canadian and temporary foreign workers from COVID-19. Expenses can be retroactive to March 15, 2020 and must be completed by February 26, 2021.

Farmers seeking to apply for funding must do so before Dec 31 2020 by going to https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/emergency-on-farm-support-fund-program/.

In addition to the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund, there are a range of other programs available to support famers and food producers through these challenging times:

  • The Emergency Processing Fund (EPF) is a one-time, federal investment of up to $77.5 million to help companies implement changes to safeguard the health and safety of workers and their families due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund also aims to aid companies to invest to improve, automate and modernize facilities needed to increase Canada’s food supply capacity.
  • Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program to help cover the costs associated with the mandatory 14-day isolation period.
  • A COVID-19 Response and Mitigation Program to help food producers with the costs of meeting extra health requirements due to COVID-19; help producers get their crops to market; fund projects aimed at maintaining competitiveness, productivity, and profitability; and, support abattoir efficiency and development.
  • Increased the 2020 AgriStability interim benefit payment percentage from 50 to 75 per cent for producers.
  • Enhanced AgriInsurance coverage to include labour shortages due to COVID-19 during the 2020 growing season.
This added funding for enhanced worker and workplace safety builds on government actions taken this year to support Nova Scotia farms and other agri-food sector businesses.

Quotes

“Everyone needs to feel safe and supported when they go to work. Since the start of the pandemic, it has been a top priority to protect the health of all farm workers who are working hard to feed Canadians. With this program, Nova Scotia farmers will have the support they need to ensure the right measures are in place to safeguard their employees’ health and safety and limit the spread of the virus.”

– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“We know the importance of the agriculture sector to rural communities across Canada. COVID-19 has had an impact on our producers and today’s announcement is the continuation of investments our government has made to support the sector, by offsetting additional costs needed to support the health and safety of farmers, employees, and the public.”

– Kody Blois, Member of Parliament for Kings-Hants

“It’s a priority to ensure that all Nova Scotia workers can perform their jobs safely during this pandemic. By supporting farm workers, we are also protecting our high-quality food supply and maintaining a strong agriculture sector.”

– Keith Colwell, Nova Scotia Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries

Quick facts

  • The On-Farm Support Fund provides a $35 million investment across Canada to improve health and safety on farms and in employee living quarters to prevent and respond to the spread of COVID-19.

  • The creation of this fund was first announced by Minister Bibeau and Minister Qualtrough on July 31st, along with increased supports to temporary foreign workers, strengthened employer inspections regime, and the development of improved employer-provided living accommodation requirements.

  • As part of its actions to protect the health and safety of foreign workers, the Government of Canada has been working with provinces and territories, as well as a range of partners and stakeholders, to ensure employers and temporary foreign workers are aware of their obligations and respect the rules in place to help prevent the importation and spread of COVID-19 in Canada.

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