OTTAWA, ONTARIO – The Canadian government is accepting applications for the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund in certain provinces and territories. The fund provides a C$35 million investment toward direct infrastructure improvements to employee 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 to improve health and safety of Canadian and temporary foreign workers and to prevent and respond to the spread of COVID-19. 

Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut are the focus of this effort, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) said. Work continues with the other provincial governments to finalize delivery arrangements with announcements expected through the coming weeks, the agency said.

“Protecting the health and well-being of all farm workers who are helping ensure the food security for Canadians has been a top priority since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “This is why we will continue to provide farmers with the support they need to ensure the right measures are in place to safeguard their employees and limit the spread of the virus. Additional support will also be provided to women and youth as the government is keenly aware that these groups have been uniquely affected by COVID-19.”

Contributions under the program will be cost-shared 50:50 with the applicants up to C$100,000, AAFC said. An additional 10% will be provided to women and youth applicants making the split 60:40 as the government tries to promote and empower women and youth in the agricultural sector.

“Immigration is a critical driver of our economy, but more than ever Canadians know how much we rely on migrant workers for our food security as well, and we have a duty to keep them safe,” said Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. “The support they have provided to Canada’s farmers and food processors has helped keep food on all of our tables and has helped us weather the significant challenges brought on by the pandemic.”