The B.C. government will end its quarantine program for seasonal agricultural temporary foreign workers on March 31.
Arriving workers will travel directly to their farms and it will be the employer’s responsibility to ensure federal quarantine requirements are met for those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, according to a release by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.
The province said it will continue to provide support to farmers for the self-isolation of temporary foreign workers. The program reimburses employers to a maximum of $3,000 per farm worker, based on a 14-day isolation period, for costs associated with providing accommodation and other supports to workers who need to self-isolate.
Over 15,000 workers went through the program, with 233 workers diagnosed with COVID-19 while in quarantine, according to the release.
“This shows the important role the program played in preventing workers with symptoms from travelling to farms and communities or causing larger outbreaks, as well as preventing associated economic losses and interruptions to the B.C. food supply,” reads the release.
The B.C. Farm Worker Safe Isolation Program is a federal-provincial program funded by B.C.’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The B.C. government said it anticipates returning to pre-pandemic numbers for seasonal agricultural temporary foreign workers this year, which is around 11,000 workers.