Grey Federation of Agriculture responds to foreign workers plan

Grey Federation of Agriculture President Hugh Simpson. (Kirk Scott photo)

The president of the Grey Federation of Agriculture welcomes federal government help to bring in foreign workers.

With the borders closed, the government is making an exception for foreign farm workers. And the government will pay employers 1,500 per employee to help put isolation measures in place.

Grey Federation president Hugh Simpson says it’s positive that the federal government understands the specific problems farmers face.

“The government is, at a policy level, recognizing the position that the new protocols put agriculture in and so it’s good to see that the government is doing that,” said Simpson.

The workers will still have to quarantine for 14 days which means they’re non-productive during that time, at the farmers’ expense.

“That person really for two weeks can’t work so the farmers is really paying for two weeks for quote, idle time,” added Simpson.

Simpson says the help is important for Grey County fruit and vegetable producers, especially apples. He adds there are still many details to be worked out. For some farmers the $1,500 will be enough. For others not.

And it remains to be seen how complicated applying for the money is and how soon it flows.