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COVID-19 Updates News Labour
More federal funding to support agricultural migrant workers


October 4, 2021
By KAIROS Canada

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Migrant workers receive a warm welcome from the Simcoe community at the Center for Migrant Workers Solidarity, a partner of KAIROS' Empowering Temporary Foreign Workers during COVID-19 project. (CNW Group/KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives)

Ottawa has awarded KAIROS Canada almost $1.9 million to continue its project to support and assist temporary foreign workers during the pandemic, with a focus on the agricultural sector.

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program, this project targets the Maritimes and Ontario and ends on December 15, 2021. Last year, the Government of Canada awarded KAIROS $2.18 million to run the project from December 17, 2020 to June 30, 2021, with a one month extension to July 31.

In May, the project expanded to include airport support services to welcome, inform, and assist migrant workers arriving at Toronto Pearson International Airport on COVID-19 by providing information on quarantine measures, vaccinations, and additional supports. This service will continue under the new agreement with the Government of Canada.

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Approximately 25,000 temporary foreign workers were served under this project during the first half of 2021.

To further its work, KAIROS will partner with 15 grassroots organizations that support migrant workers in the three Maritime provinces and southern Ontario, with expansion to the WindsorEssex region. The project will serve an anticipated 7,000 temporary foreign workers, including up to 1,000 at Pearson Airport.

As with the first part of the year, partners will provide incoming workers with welcome bags that include personal care equipment, language-appropriate resources, and non-perishable food items.

Other services include information sessions, webinars, virtual workshops, and emergency assistance. Partners will also visit farms and public spaces for outreach and service delivery.

Partner organizations are: Cooper Institute (PEI); Filipino CommUnity of New Brunswick; No One Is Illegal – Halifax; and in Ontario: CARE Int’l- WE, Center for Migrant Worker Program (Durham), Center for Migrant Worker Solidarity (Simcoe), Five Oaks Centre (Paris), Migrant Rights Center Canada, Migrant Worker Community Program, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, Migrant Workers Ministry, Diocese of London, Niagara Migrant Worker Working Group (Niagara-on-the-Lake), Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, The Neighbourhood Organization (Toronto), and Unknown Neighbours/El Sembrador (Simcoe County, Barrie and Bradford).

“KAIROS, its partners and the workers we serve are deeply grateful to the Government of Canada for this new funding in support of temporary foreign workers,” says Connie Sorio, KAIROS’ Migrant Justice Program Manager. “This funding allows us and our partners to build on the success of the project that began in December to help migrant workers during the pandemic.”


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