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B.C. extends quarantine program for temporary foreign workers

March 12, 2021  By BC Agriculture, Food and Fisheries

British Columbia is extending its quarantine program for temporary foreign workers arriving in B.C. for seasonal agriculture work.

The provincial government says they will continue to fund hotel, food-service costs, laundry services, wellness walks, interpretation and translation services, health screening and other necessary supports for these workers during the quarantine period.

“These seasonal workers are so vital to our farming communities and play an integral role in preserving our province’s food supply,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. “Extending our quarantine program will provide peace of mind to workers, employers and communities that we are doing everything possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I know some of these workers leave their homes to come to B.C. year after year, many returning to the same farms where they have developed close relationships, and we are grateful for their help in growing and harvesting food for British Columbians.”


Upon arrival in Canada, temporary foreign workers will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms by federal officials (Canadian Border Service Agency and Public Health Agency of Canada). If they have symptoms, they may be placed in quarantine at the point of entry or be sent to the hospital as per the federal Quarantine Act. If asymptomatic, workers will continue on to the provincial quarantine site for 14 days. Following the quarantine period, if no symptoms develop (or once the employee is fully recovered if symptoms do develop), workers will be safely transported to their farm.

“In the context of COVID-19, the Consulate of Mexico in Vancouver praises the actions taken by the B.C. government to ensure the safety and health of Mexican Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program workers by providing quarantine centres and physically inspecting the housing facilities before their arrival,” said Berenice Diaz Ceballos, Mexican Consul General. “The ongoing collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, and the consulate has allowed us to keep our nationals safe and informed. We look forward to jointly addressing the challenges we face during these complex times and after the pandemic is over.”

All farms receiving workers are required to have infection control and prevention measures in place and require an on-site inspection prior to worker arrival. Farmers and farm workers must also follow all provincial health officer (PHO) guidelines, including the PHO industrial camp order, which covers B.C.’s agriculture and seafood industry.

The province spent approximately $17 million on accommodations, meals and laundry service for the 4,997 temporary foreign workers who arrived in B.C. between April 13, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020. Of those workers, 64 COVID-19 positive cases were detected. All recovered while under the care and supervision of the provincial quarantine program.

Prior to having the quarantine program in place, an additional 2,000 temporary foreign workers (TFW) travelled to B.C. for seasonal agriculture work, for a total of approximately 7,000 TFWs for the 2020 calendar year.

In 2021, it is estimated that approximately 11,000 TFWs will travel to B.C., similar to 2019 and previous years.

– La province prolonge son programme de quarantaine qui s’est avéré efficace pour les saisonniers agricoles étrangers qui viennent travailler en Colombie-Britannique, afin d’assurer la santé et la sécurité des travailleurs et des collectivités où ils se rendront.

Le gouvernement de la Colombie-Britannique continuera à couvrir les frais d’hôtel, de repas, de buanderie, de promenades de bien-être, de services d’interprétation et de traduction, de dépistage sanitaires et d’autres soutiens nécessaires à ces travailleurs pendant leur quarantaine. À leur arrivée au Canada, les travailleurs étrangers temporaires seront soumis à un dépistage des symptômes de la COVID-19 par des fonctionnaires fédéraux (Agence des services frontaliers du Canada et Agence de santé publique du Canada). S’ils présentent des symptômes, ils peuvent être mis en quarantaine au point d’entrée ou être envoyés à l’hôpital conformément à la Loi sur la mise en quarantaine du Canada. S’ils sont asymptomatiques, ils feront leur quarantaine sur le site de quarantaine provincial pendant 14 jours. À la fin de la quarantaine, les travailleurs qui ne présentent aucun symptôme (ou qui sont complètement rétablis s’ils avaient présenté des symptômes) seront transportés en toute sécurité vers l’exploitation agricole de leur employeur

La provincia está ampliando su exitoso programa de cuarentena para los trabajadores extranjeros temporales que vienen a B.C. para el trabajo agrícola de temporada, para garantizar la salud y la seguridad tanto de los trabajadores como de las comunidades a las que van a viajar.

El gobierno de B.C. continuará financiando los gastos de hotel, servicios de comida, servicios de lavandería, paseos de bienestar, servicios de interpretación y traducción, exámenes de salud y otros apoyos necesarios para estos trabajadores durante el periodo de cuarentena. Tras su llegada a Canadá, los trabajadores extranjeros temporales serán evaluados por las autoridades federales (el Organismo de Servicios Fronterizos de Canadá y el Organismo de Salud Pública de Canadá) en relación con los síntomas del COVID-19. Si presentan síntomas, se les podrá poner en cuarentena en el punto de entrada o se les enviará al hospital, conforme a la Ley federal de cuarentena. Si son asintomáticos, los trabajadores continuarán en el lugar de cuarentena provincial durante 14 días. Tras el periodo de cuarentena, si no desarrollan síntomas (o una vez que el trabajador esté totalmente recuperado si se desarrollan síntomas), los trabajadores serán transportados de forma segura a su granja.


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