Farms that employed seasonal workers from other parts of Canada are eligible to receive support for some of the costs they incurred to keep their workers safe and ensure British Columbians could enjoy local fruits and vegetables this summer and fall.
The B.C. Seasonal Domestic Farm Worker COVID-19 Safety Program offers farmers up to $2,000 reimbursement for on-farm expenses that helped farms comply with COVID-19 health and safety measures between April 1 and Oct. 31, 2021.
The program compensates expenses for sanitation priorities, such as the purchase, rental or scheduled cleaning and disinfecting of handwashing stations, bathing and laundry facilities, and bathrooms, portable or compost toilets, as well as cleaning, disinfecting and sanitization products used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It also offers reimbursed costs for infrastructure expenses that helped workers stay on-farm during their employment period, such as cooking facilities, shelters for shade and rain, and added Wi-Fi access to worker areas.
Approximately 1,500 to 2,000 seasonal workers from other parts of Canada help harvest B.C. fruit and grapes in the Okanagan and Creston areas each year. The B.C. government has worked with fruit growers to ensure COVID-19 health and safety guidelines have been met at designated worker camps near Oliver and Summerland since 2020, as well as offering support for on-farm camping in the Okanagan and Creston Valley, all to help keep people safe and support B.C.’s economy and food security.