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COVID-19 Updates News
Details released on temporary foreign worker isolation support


May 12, 2020
By Western Agriculture Labour Initiative (WALI), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The federal government has now released details around the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP). This program provides up to $1,500 in support to assist with specific costs incurred by employers during the mandatory 14-day quarantine period when workers arrive in Canada.

MISTFWP is a one-time $50-million program to help with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on food supply in Canada by assisting the farming, fish harvesting, and food production and processing sectors. The program will assist Canadian employers with some of the incremental costs associated with the mandatory 14-day isolation period imposed under the Quarantine Act on temporary foreign workers upon entering Canada. Eligible activities include:

  • wages and benefits of the temporary foreign workers during the mandatory 14-day isolation period
  • off site accommodations during the mandatory 14-day isolation period
  • transportation to and from off site accommodations required during the mandatory 14-day isolation period
  • food or a food allowance during the mandatory 14-day isolation period
  • health and safety supplies such as gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant cleaners and soaps required for the mandatory 14-day isolation period
  • other incremental costs directly associated to the 14 day mandatory isolation period imposed on temporary foreign workers under the Quarantine Act

Applicants may apply for costs that were incurred on or after March 26, 2020 (“retroactive costs”). While the program allows for retroactive costs to be submitted, the applicant assumes the risk of not being reimbursed if:

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  • some costs are not approved or deemed ineligible
  • costs were not incurred during or for the purpose of the mandatory 14-day isolation period
  • funding is not available

Should an applicant receive assistance from a provincial or territorial government to help cover these costs, or the $1,500 exceeds their incremental costs per employee, the total contribution may be reduced. For B.C., because the province is covering the cost of food and accommodations for workers arriving in British Columbia, employers will need to be careful of the amount they claim.

Program details and the application form are available on the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada website.  

The federal investment of up to $50-million will be available until fully depleted and, as long as the order under the Quarantine Act is in force and the isolation protocol has to be followed. The program will accept applications until June 30, 2020.