Ottawa pledges $4.9M for B.C. farm worker COVID protection
October 27, 2020 By Greenhouse Canada
Ottawa announced it will invest $4.9 million under the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund to help British Columbia (B.C.) farmers better protect the health and safety of farm workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This federal funding will be delivered by Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia (IAF).
Eligible activities include direct infrastructure improvements to living quarters and work stations, temporary or emergency housing (on or off-farm), as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitary stations, work stations and any other health and safety measures that safeguard the health and safety of Canadian and temporary foreign workers from COVID-19.
Applications will be accepted through IAF’s portal from October 27, 2020 to November 17, 2020. Contributions under the program will be cost-shared 50:50 with the applicants, up to $100,000. An additional 10 per cent will be provided to women, youth, visible minorities, Indigenous Peoples, and Persons with disabilities, amounting to a 60:40 split as the Government of Canada promotes and empowers underrepresented groups in the agricultural sector.
The IAF will deliver the program under two streams. Stream one will be available for recipients looking for reimbursements of already incurred costs whereas stream two targets recipients who are looking to undertake future projects. A flexible framework will help assess applications, considering the risk to the applicants’ workers.
According to the Western Labour Agriculture Initiative (WALI), eligible activities can be retroactive to March 15, 2020 and must be completed and fully paid for by February 19, 2021. Applications must include at least $5,000 in total eligible project costs to be considered.
The Emergency On-Farm Support Fund provides a $35 million investment across Canada to improve health and safety on farms and in employee living quarters to prevent and respond to the spread of COVID-19. The creation of this fund was first announced by Minister Bibeau and Minister Qualtrough on July 31st, 2020, along with increased supports to temporary foreign workers, strengthened employer inspections regime, and the development of improved employer-provided living accommodation requirements.
Source: AAFC, WALI
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