Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

COVID-19 Updates News Business Safety
Funding available for B.C. farms with seasonal domestic workers


October 19, 2021
By B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries

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Farms in British Columbia that employed seasonal workers from other parts of Canada are eligible to receive support for some of the costs they incurred to keep their workers safe this summer and fall.

The B.C. Seasonal Domestic Farm Worker COVID-19 Safety Program offers farmers up to $2,000 reimbursement for on-farm expenses that helped farms comply with COVID-19 health and safety measures between April 1 and Oct. 31.

The program compensates expenses for sanitation priorities, such as the purchase, rental or scheduled cleaning and disinfecting of hand-washing stations, bathing and laundry facilities, and bathrooms, portable or compost toilets, as well as cleaning, disinfecting and sanitization products used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It also offers reimbursed costs for infrastructure expenses that helped workers stay on-farm during their employment period, such as cooking facilities, shelters for shade and rain, and added Wi-Fi access to worker areas.

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Approximately 1,500 to 2,000 seasonal workers from other parts of Canada help harvest B.C. fruit and grapes in the Okanagan and Creston areas each year. The B.C. government has worked with fruit growers to ensure COVID-19 health and safety guidelines have been met at designated worker camps near Oliver and Summerland since 2020, as well as offering support for on-farm camping in the Okanagan and Creston valleys, all to help keep people safe and support B.C.’s economy and food security.

Applications must be received by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries no later than Oct. 31 (11:59 p.m.) and claim forms no later than Nov. 30 (11:59 p.m.). If the maximum program budget of $50,000 is allocated before Oct. 31, the application intake will close.

More information and application packages for the B.C. Seasonal Domestic Farm Worker COVID-19 Safety Program are available online:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs/bc-seasonal-domestic-farm-worker-covid-19-safety-program