Farms 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 and ensure British Columbians could enjoy local fruits and vegetables this summer and fall.
The B.C.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, 2021.
The program compensates expenses for sanitation priorities, such as the purchase, rental or scheduled cleaning and disinfecting of handwashing 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.
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 Valley, all to help keep people safe and support B.C.’s economy and food security.
More information and application packages for the B.C. Seasonal Domestic Farm Worker COVID-19 Safety Program are available online:
- The program offers up to 70% reimbursement for eligible purchases between April 1 and Oct. 31, 2021, to a maximum of $2,000 per farm.
- For the purposes of this program, a seasonal domestic farm worker is defined as a worker who is a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, who is not a permanent employee of the applicant and does not permanently reside on the applicant’s farm.
- Eligible on-farm improvements must support the employer and the workers to comply with their obligations under the Industrial Camp Order, and/or the employer’s Infection Prevention and Control Plan or Communicable Disease Prevention Plan.
- Applications must be received by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries no later than Oct. 31, 2021 (11:59 p.m.) and claim forms no later than Nov. 30, 2021 (11:59 p.m.).
- If the maximum program budget of $50,000 is allocated before Oct. 31, 2021, the application intake will close.
Support for domestic seasonal farm workers in 2021 – Supporting a safe 2021 fruit harvest in B.C. – on BC Gov News: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021AFF0040-001266