October 27, 2020 By Fruit and Vegetable
British Columbia farmers can now apply for funding to help cover some of the costs of improvements to protect workers and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
On October 27, the Minister of Agriculture Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an investment of $4.9 million under the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund to help British Columbia farmers better protect the health and safety of farm workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This federal funding will be delivered by Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia (IAF).
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 IAF’s portal from October 27, 2020 to November 17, 2020. The $4.9 million investment is based on an estimated 640 farmers applying.
Contributions under the program will be cost-shared 50:50 with the applicants, up to $100,000. 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.
IAF is an industry led, not-for-profit that delivers government funded programs to the agriculture and agri-food sector of British Columbia.
The IAF will deliver the program under two streams. Stream one will be available for recipients looking for reimbursements of already incurred costs whereas stream two targets recipients who are looking to undertake future projects. A flexible framework will help assess applications, considering the risk to the applicants’ workers.
Today’s announcement is part of the Government of Canada’s $35 million investment to improve health and safety on farms through the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund. The $35 million fund is part of a $58.6 million investment the Canadian federal government made into the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) in late July amid COVID-19 outbreaks on farms. The fund was announced along with increased supports to temporary foreign workers, strengthened employer inspections regime, and the development of improved employer-provided living accommodation requirements.
The Fund will be delivered by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. In Ontario, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia, it is administered provincially.
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