Health & Safety
Ottawa reveal details of $35M fund to help make farms safer in pandemic
By The Canadian Press
Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says some Canadian farmers can now apply for emergency funding to protect their workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program will subsidize farms’ purchases of personal protective equipment and sanitary stations and it will help to cover extra costs in cases of any COVID-19 outbreaks.
The government will cover 50 per cent of the costs under the program and 60 per cent if the farm is owned by women or youths.
“Our government will continue to support farmers and (food) processors,” Bibeau said Monday. “They are key partners in Canada sustainable economy recovery.”
Not available in all jurisdictions
Farmers in Saskatchewan, Alberta, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon and the Northwest Territories can apply.
Bibeau says the government will announce programs that will be managed by the other provinces in the coming weeks.
The $35-million program was announced at the end of July to help with the costs of infrastructure improvements, workstations and living quarters.
The program will be applied retroactively to cover any COVID-19-related costs between March 15 and the end of February.
Bibeau says the program can apply equally to Canadian or migrant farm workers and it will prioritize farms at the highest risk of COVID-19 outbreaks.
The number of workers and the amount of space they have in their workplaces and housing facilities will be key elements in identifying high-risk farms for COVID-19 outbreaks, Bibeau says.
Last month, the government launched a $77.5-million program to help Canadian food processors to respond to the safety needs of their workers.
Bibeau says the new program is built to support temporary foreign workers on farms too.
“We are strengthening the employer inspections regime and developing improved employer-provided living accommodation requirements for migrant workers,” she said.
“We care deeply about the well-being of migrant workers.”
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