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'Crucial to our food security:' Canada remains open to temporary foreign farm workers

Last Updated Mar 21, 2020 at 8:44 am PDT

FILE -- Mexican migrant workers make their way out of the cranberry field after a long day at the Maybog Farm in Richmond, B.C., November 6, 2012. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)
Summary

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, said emphatically Friday that these workers are essential

The minister said workers coming into Canada will be subject to rigorous screening, and mandatory isolation for 14 days

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The roughly 60,000 temporary foreign workers employed by farms and food processing plants in Canada will not be turned away at the border according to the federal agriculture minister.

Concerns over the spread of COVID-19 have prompted strict travel restrictions and a shutdown of the Canada-U.S. border to non-essential travel.

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, said emphatically Friday that these workers are essential .

“The participation of temporary foreign workers on our farms and our food businesses is absolutely necessary. It is nothing less than an issue of food security,” reads a statement.

“This measure will ensure Canadians will have continued access to healthy and affordable Canadian food when they go to the grocery store.”

Bibeau says workers coming into Canada will be subject to rigorous screening, and mandatory isolation for 14 days.

“We will work closely with employers to ensure protocols are in place for workers upon their arrival in Canada, to avoid any health risks,” the statement reads.

The statement ends with an expression of gratitude.

“I want to thank all the farmers, grocers, employees and food processors, as well as all those offering food services to the more vulnerable. They continue to go to work every day, and help keep our food supply chain strong and ensure everyone has the food they need during these difficult times.”