New foreign workers’ plan for quarantine when arriving

File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / herraez

The federal government is moving ahead with what it calls a ‘two-pronged’ approach to quarantine requirements for temporary foreign workers, or TFWs.

After March 21, asymptomatic TFWs will be able to travel directly to their place of quarantine after getting a COVID-19 test at the airport provided they travel by private transportation and are accompanied only by others who travelled with them to Canada.

TFWs who will need to travel by public means to a secondary location upon arrival in Canada will be required to stay in a Government Authorized Accommodation and await the results of their COVID-19 test. Provided they have a suitable quarantine plan and safe transportation arranged to their place of quarantine, the government intends to ensure employers and temporary foreign workers will not assume incremental costs associated with the three-day quarantine requirement at the point of entry.

Workers will also be provided with supports on arrival and during their hotel stay.

The federal government says temporary foreign workers have played an important role in ensuring food security for decades, including through the pandemic and their continued safety and timely entry into Canada is essential.

Beyond the arrival plan, federal officials are exploring how best to support TFWs and employers to ensure that they can remain in Canada safely for the duration of their work.

Some of the things being looked at include:

-Working with provinces to ensure employers are well prepared to safely welcome and quarantine workers
-Increasing and strengthening inspections of employers in agriculture, to ensure they are meeting their quarantine obligations
-Funding migrant worker organizations to provide direct assistance to workers affected by COVID-19 for the 2021 season
-Improving the TFW tip line, with the addition of live agents able to offer services in multiple languages, who can help workers better communicate situations of mistreatment or abuse, and providing additional education for workers on their rights

Roughly 50,000 to 60,000 foreign agricultural workers come to work in Canada each year, about 40% of them come to Ontario.