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B.C. continues funding TFW quarantine program


March 16, 2021
By B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries

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British Columbia is extending its quarantine program for temporary foreign workers (TFWs) coming to the province for seasonal agricultural work.

To ensure the health and safety of the workers and the communities they will be travelling to, the provincial government will continue to fund: hotel, food-service costs, laundry services, wellness walks, interpretation and translation services, health screening and other necessary supports for these workers during the quarantine period.

“These seasonal workers are so vital to our farming communities and play an integral role in preserving our province’s food supply,” said Lana Popham, minister of agriculture, food and fisheries. “Extending our quarantine program will provide peace of mind to workers, employers and communities that we are doing everything possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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“I know some of these workers leave their homes to come to B.C. year after year, many returning to the same farms where they have developed close relationships, and we are grateful for their help in growing and harvesting food for British Columbians.”

Upon arrival in Canada, TFWs will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms by federal officials (Canadian Border Service Agency and Public Health Agency of Canada). If they have symptoms, they may be placed in quarantine at the point of entry or be sent to the hospital as per the federal Quarantine Act. If asymptomatic, workers will continue on to the provincial quarantine site for 14 days. Following the quarantine period, if no symptoms develop (or once the employee is fully recovered if symptoms do develop), workers will be safely transported to their farm.

All farms receiving workers are required to have infection control and prevention measures in place and require an on-site inspection prior to worker arrival. Farmers and farm workers must also follow all provincial health officer (PHO) guidelines, including the PHO industrial camp order, which covers B.C.’s agriculture and seafood industry.

Quick facts:

  • The Province spent approximately $17 million on accommodations, meals and laundry service for the 4,997 TFWs who came to B.C. between April 13, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Of those workers who arrived between April and Dec. 31, 2020, 64 COVID-19 positive cases were detected. All recovered while under the care and supervision of the provincial quarantine program.
  • Prior to having the quarantine program in place, an additional 2,000 TFWs came to B.C. for seasonal agriculture work, for a total of approximately 7,000 TFWs for the 2020 calendar year.
  • In 2021, it is estimated that approximately 11,000 TFWs will come to B.C., similar to 2019 and previous years.

Learn More:

Information on the provincially funded quarantine program: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/covid-19-response/temporary-foreign-farmworkers

PHO guidelines and orders: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/covid-19-response/agriculture-seafood-protocol

Translations:

For a Spanish translation, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/21.11.03_TFW_quarantine_Spanish.pdf

For a Punjabi translation, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/21.03.11_TFW-quarantine_Punjabi.pdf

For a French translation, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/21.03.11_TFW_quarantine_French.pdf