The federal government is providing immediate relief for temporary foreign workers that are stranded in Ontario.
“Approximately 400 farm workers from Trinidad and Tobago who came to work in Ontario under the federal Seasonal Agriculture Worker Program, are currently unable to return home as they haven’t received COVID-19 travel exemptions from their home country,” says OMAFRA Minister Ernie Hardeman.
International workers grew and harvested food and helped keep the food supply chain strong throughout the pandemic, adds Hardeman.
“Our hearts go out to these stranded workers who may not be able to get home for the holidays,” he says. “While the federal government is working with consular officials to resolve the issue as soon as possible, farmers continue to be responsible for supporting workers and providing housing until they leave to return to their home country.”
Federal benefits are available to affected workers, and the government of Canada is helping them complete the necessary paperwork. The federal government is working with employees, employers, and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to ensure that affected workers’ immigration status is extended.
As the holidays swiftly approach, along with the federal government, Ontario government is working to make funding available to assist farmers in providing housing, meals, winter clothing, and internet services, so that affected workers can contact their families.
Eligible expenses would include accommodations, meals, winter clothing, heaters, equipment, PPE, cleaning supplies, communications, and transportation costs. OHIP coverage is also extended for affected workers.