Farmers Face Crop Losses

CBJ — Canadian farmers are expressing concerns that the mandatory COVID-19 quarantines imposed on incoming seasonal foreign workers will have a serious impact on the amount of fruits and vegetables that will be harvested this year.

There is also less than the usual number of foreign workers available this year due to the pandemic and tighter border restrictions.  Some of the workers have had their transportation delayed and others had their travel plans cancelled outright.

Canadian farms rely on about 60,000 temporary foreign workers, many of whom originate in Caribbean nations such as Jamaica while the U.S. brings in about 250,000 workers, with the majority of them coming from Mexico.

This year all incoming workers must be isolated for 14 days and must be paid for 40 hours while in quarantine. Pruning work, a critical step to maximize yields, is now overdue.

A number of Canadian farmers believe there will be smaller yields of fruits and vegetables this year if a full supply of foreign labour is not available very soon.