In April, flights arrived in Canada with thousands of temporary foreign workers destined to begin work on agriculture throughout the country. Their workforce is very important for food production in Canada, so the federal and provincial governments decide to ensure they can arrive, even though the border is closed because of COVID-19.
Ottawa enforces regulations requiring employers to ensure that newly arrived workers can be quarantined at their workplaces for two weeks and have adequate access to food and health supplies. Federal government announced support for agriculture and food producers for $ 1,500 for each worker to help cover additional costs to ensure workers can be isolated for two weeks.
Around the same time, two planes carrying hundreds of foreign workers temporarily landed in Vancouver. But the workers were not taken away to the farm where they would be employed for the season. Instead, they were escorted to a government-operated place where they were quarantined for two weeks in hotels vacated for that purpose. Only B.C. and Prince Edward Island requires workers to enter government-operated isolation.
Today, Justine Hunter reported that eight of the workers tested positive for novel coronaviruses when quarantined. The eight workers all headed to different farms, which might mean COVID exposure for hundreds of agricultural workers.
“They could have infected other staff and completely closed the operation,” Agriculture Minister Lana Popham noted. Seven of the eight workers have recovered and have been cleared for work.
This program is carried out after breeding in SM. The interior was closed after the COVID outbreak infected 23 workers, believed to be tracked by the arrival of temporary foreign workers who arrived in Kelowna in early March. The workers live in shared housing provided by the nursery.
PEI is the only other province that provides accommodation for workers before they travel to their workplaces. Other provinces have helped agricultural businesses to manage the quarantine period on their farms. Ontario has dozens of COVID cases among temporary foreign workers who come to Canada to work on agriculture.
In BC, if new arrivals have no symptoms when they land, they are sent to a hotel near Vancouver International Airport. The province pays for room costs, food service, and worker support during the 14-day self-isolation period. During that time, employers are responsible for paying their temporary foreign workers for a minimum of 30 hours per week, at an hourly rate that they will do if they work.
Ms. Popham said he hoped B.C. will be able to bring a total of 6,000 agricultural workers to the province this year.
“This is embedded in the way we do business here,” he said. “If we don’t find a solution, we will have a very different situation in this sector.”
This is a weekly Western Canada bulletin written by B.C. Editor Wendy Cox and the Head of the Alberta Bureau James Keller. If you read this on the web, or forwarded to you from someone else, you can register for it and all Globe newsletters here. This is a new project and we will continue to experiment, so let us know what do you think.
Around the West
MURAL: With more than 55 murals throughout Gastown, BIA is preparing plans for the summer by taking the mural and making outdoor galleries in the alleyways of the area. And there is interest from the Vancouver Art Gallery to do something with them in the future. Organizers of the Vancouver Mural Festival, noting Gastown’s grassroots efforts, were mobilized to send artists to more than 40 riding locations downtown and outside for what they called #MakeArtWhileApart. VMF artists share their thoughts how the pandemic has affected their lives, what they do to stay afloat and what role public art might play in physical distance.
DEATH CARGILL: Benito Quesada spent the last few days at Cargill Ltd’s slaughterhouse. at High River to check the welfare of his colleagues. He fills in for a union representative as a running servant, which means he will be in contact with the Cargill employee plots throughout the facility. Now, the factory flag is flying at half mast to honor the second factory worker who died from the COVID-19 outgreak at the factory. Mr. Quesada, who came to Canada from Mexico in 2007, died last weekend after being infected with a novel coronavirus. He is 51 years old, according to the union representing workers at Cargill.
LAKE KEARL: The outbreak at the Northern Alberta oil sands site is now linked to more than 100 cases of COVID-19 in four provinces, including the remote village of Dene in North Saskatchewan, which has increasingly raised concerns that the disease can spread like wildfire through labor camps that house thousands of people. oil and gas workers. On April 14, two cases of COVID-19 appeared Lake Kearl, a labor camp managed by Civeo Corp. based in the U.S. serving the Imperial Oil Ltd. oil sands project On April 15, with another case confirmed on the site, the Alberta Health Service announced an outbreak. Two days later, Lake Kearl had 12 cases. On May 8, the number exceeded 100, including 23 located outside the Alberta border in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. Workers have gone home, carrying viruses.
MANITOBA HYDRO: Hundreds of Hydoba Manitoba employees will receive layoff notifications after the province directed Crown utilities to save costs during the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hydro spokesman Bruce Owen said the temporary layoffs would last for four months and affect 600-700 employees. Utilities expects layoffs will translate to around $ 11-million in savings.
MONEY FOR OIL AND GAS SECTORS: Long-standing federal government support for airlines and oil and gas companies came Monday in the form of a loan program for large companies affected by the pandemic economy. The new program, called Large Entrepreneur Emergency Funding Facility (LEEFF), is intended to provide short-term bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers in situations where they cannot obtain loans from private lenders. But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said any federal money would come with “stringent” conditions, including dividend limits, share repurchases and executive payments, and requirements for companies to show how they contributed to Canada’s climate change goals.
DAYCARES: Parents throughout Alberta, and in other provinces who are preparing to reopen child care as part of their planned economic re-launch, now weigh risk when they decide whether to return their children to daycare. Alberta outlines a number new rules to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in child care facilities, which is permitted to reopen on Thursday. The new guidelines specify a maximum of 10 people, including children and staff, for each room. Centers with several rooms can have as many as 30 programs, as long as they are separated into groups consisting of 10 different rooms and not gathered.
SASKATCHEWAN TRAVEL CHECKPOINT: Leaders in northwest Saskatchewan called on provinces to clear up confusion checkpoints that limit travel in this region during the COVID-19 pandemic. A letter from the northern leaders to the head of the provincial medical health officer outlining their concerns about the lack of consultation about travel restrictions and confusion about how to interpret it. It said there were no native language speakers at the checkpoint and the staff did not respect the notes of the head and council that allowed certain people to travel.
RESTAURANT: When will the SM restaurant reopen for dinner – maybe on June 1 – the table can be two meters apart and the booth will be separated by high plexiglass sheets. Buffet, waiting room and seating at the bar or counter that is not wide enough will remain closed, below Blueprint for Reopening Places to Eat in Restaurants submitted last week to the provincial government by the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association. These are just a few of the changes outlined in the blueprint, which are awaiting approval from WorkSafe BC.
METAN: Alberta is tighten the methane regulations, bringing it closer to controlling emissions from greenhouse gases, relies on reviews from Ottawa to ensure they meet the federal government’s mandated targets. The province issued a new regulation on Tuesday that Alberta hopes will be in line with Ottawa’s minimum standards to provide provincial oversight of emissions from its oil and gas sector.
HAIR SALON: Some of the little pleasures of going to the salon will be sacrificed because of the risk of spreading the new corona virus. In Alberta, hair salon can open as early as May 14 as part of Phase 1 of the planned relaunch of the province. According to the British Columbia Restart Plan, hair salons and barber shops will be allowed to open during Phase 2, which will begin mid-May. Many salons across the country are considering improving strong hygiene and sanitation practices, as well as installing plexiglass glass barriers and minimizing certain services, such as shampooing. These additional cleaning and protection measures are additional costs. Salons also need to limit the number of customers to comply with physical distance regulations, which will reduce their income compared to before the pandemic.
WATER POLO: Kyra Christmas, 23, a member of the Canadian national women’s water polo team, came up with an idea with her family to build ponds of hay bales because he could not practice in the pool with his team because of COVID-19. The pool is 16 feet long, eight feet wide and six feet deep and is on his parents’ farm in southeastern Airdrie in Rocky View, Alta.
Justine Hunter in SM Plans to address operations savings: “This week, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced his plan to pursue a delayed operation of COVID, with the operating room reopening next week. He called it ambitious, and rightly so. What Mr. Dix suggested was not only dealing with COVID’s deposits, but also trying to fixing these difficult problems, even when the COVID-19 crisis remained alive.
Roxanne Robinson, Danielle Shaw, Marilyn Slett and Wally Webber in revealed COVID-19 data to the customary government: “Here in British Columbia, the First United Nations Health Authority (FNHA), which operates under Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), continues not to disclose to the indigenous government where the COVID-19 case occurred, citing potential social harm to patients Health Officer Bonnie Henry has stated that this non-disclosure is intended to ensure that infected people are protected from stigma which can make them not report it, cumulative number of positive cases, rather than death and recovery, with respect, and in a spirit of reconciliation. “It is our view that this reason misunderstands the role of indigenous government, and that this non-disclosure policy puts the lives of indigenous peoples at risk.”
Jeffrey Jones on tLEEFF Announcement: “But, like previous federal and provincial support, the big problem remains that taxpayers take on obligations – stepping in which banks might be afraid to step in – and not getting equity and a little recourse if the company’s plans go terribly wrong. That is the level of risk that is not prepared other people. “
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