Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

COVID-19 Updates News Associations
CFA update: farmer survey, food security and attracting local workers


March 31, 2020
By Fruit and Vegetable

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In the Canadian Federation of Agriculture’s (CFA) weekly update, the organization says their focus is on food security issues, helping farmers deal with additional temporary foreign worker protocols, promoting agriculture work among Canadians, and seeking input from farmers in their weekly survey.

As is the case with previous weeks, CFA is conducting a weekly survey among Canadian farmers to identify the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak to the agricultural sector.

Complete the Farmer Survey on COVID-19 (English) for the week of March 30. This survey closes Thursday, Apr. 2, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. EST.

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The questions within the weekly survey will change with new issues and priorities. The CFA will be part of thrice-weekly roundtable calls with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada during the course of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In her weekly update, Mary Robinson, CFA president, says the organization’s main priority is to work to avoid any food security issues that could arise from the containment measures put in place globally.

“To that end, we are lobbying to have the entire Agri-Food system, from farm to processing to retail, deemed an essential service nationwide. Every link in the Agri-Food chain needs to continue to function to provide food to Canadians across the country,” Robinson writes.

“Our weekly surveys have shown us that many farmers are worried not only about their own operations, but also what happens if their local processors shut down,” Robinson adds.

Robinson also mentions the temporary foreign workers issue, saying that while federal approval for their arrival is good news there is still a lot of work ahead to get details and logistics sorted out. Robinson states that CFA’s staff, executive and board are also working “determinedly to minimize the financial burdens of these new processes for farmers.”

Finally, Robinson brings up that another potential source of agriculture labour is domestic workers. Over the course of the COVID19, many workers across Canada have been displaced from their usual jobs. Robinson cites that unemployment rates are expected to reach almost 15 per cent because of it.

In response, she says that CFA is working with the government to help launch a campaign to incentivize Canadians to seek work in agriculture. “It is early days in this process, and we hope to be able to share more details with you on this soon. The pandemic has certainly changed the pace at which government is responding to issues,” Robinson writes.