Canada invests $945,000 to further protect Prince Edward Island farm workers during COVID-19

From: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The Government of Canada recognizes the critical role of the food supply chain and is committed to improving the safety of these workplaces.

Today, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced an investment of $945,000 under the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund to help Prince Edward Island (PEI) farmers better protect the health and safety of farm workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This federal funding will be delivered by the Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture and Land.

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.

Applications will be accepted through Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture and Land website from October 29, 2020 to January 15, 2021. Contributions under the program will be cost-shared 50:50 with the applicants, up to $30,000 per farm operation. An additional 10 per cent will be provided to women, youth, visible minorities, Indigenous Peoples, and Persons with disabilities, amounting to a 60:40 split as the Government of Canada promotes and empowers underrepresented groups in the agricultural sector.

Farmers seeking to apply for funding must submit an application before January 15, 2021 or submit an expense claim before Feb 15, 2021, by going to PEI Emergency On Farm Support Fund.

Quotes

“Everyone needs to feel safe and supported when they go to work. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting the health of all farm workers who are working hard to feed Canadians has been a top priority. With this program, Prince Edward Island 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

“The agriculture industry is sewn into the very fibre of Prince Edward Island, and we are proud that Island farmers have continued to feed communities from tip to tip and beyond during these difficult times. It is incredibly important to keep our farm workers safe as they continue to provide for us during the COVID-19 pandemic, and today’s announcement will help to ensure farmers and their employees remain healthy, safe and able to continue their important work.”

– The Honourable Wayne Easter, Member of Parliament for Malpeque PEI

“The Department of Agriculture and Land is committed to supporting the agriculture industry to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency On-Farm Support Fund will help our food producers deal with some of the extraordinary costs linked to COVID. Farms have spent a lot on equipment and facilities to protect the public and to keep their workers and customers safe. We are happy to work with the federal government to relieve some of that burden.”

– Minister Bloyce Thompson

“The agriculture community is pleased to see this investment by government in the health and safety of farmers and farm workers. COVID-19 has not slowed down the need for food and our industry wants to ensure we can continue to feed Canadians.”

– Ron Maynard, President, PEI Federation of Agriculture

Quick facts

  • The Emergency 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, 2020, along with increased supports to temporary foreign workers, strengthened employer inspections regime, and the development of improved employer-provided living accommodation requirements.

  • The $945,000 investment is based on an estimated 120 farmers applying.

  • 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 spread of COVID-19.”This announcement builds on the measures the Government has introduced to keep Canada’s agri-workforce strong, including:
    • Travel exemptions for all migrant workers, including seasonal agricultural workers and fish/seafood workers.
    • $50 million in funding for the Mandatory Isolation Support Program for Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) to help protect the health and safety of migrant workers in farming, fish harvesting, and food production by helping processing sectors cover the incremental costs associated with the mandatory 14-day isolation period imposed under the Quarantine Act on migrant workers entering Canada.
    • The Emergency Processing Fund (EPF), 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.

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