The federal government has invested $4.9 million to protect farm workers in British Columbia as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the government says in a news release on Oct. 27.
“With this program, British Columbia farmers will have the support they need to ensure the right measures are in place to safeguard their employees’ health and safety and limit the spread of the virus,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food, says in the news release.
The money is part of the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund and will help B.C. farmers be able to better protect the healthy and safety of their employees during the pandemic. The funding will delivered by Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia (IAF).
Eligible activities for funding include direct infrastructure improvements to living quarters and work stations, temporary or emergency housing (on or off-farm), as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitary stations, work stations and any other health and safety measures which safeguard the health and safety of Canadian and temporary foreign workers, the release notes.
Applications will be accepted through IAF’s portal from Oct. 27, 2020 to Nov. 17, 2020. Contributions under the program will be cost-shared 50:50 with the applicants, up to $100,000, the release says. An additional 10 per cent will be provided to women, youth, visible minorities, Indigenous Peoples, and Persons with disabilities, amounting to a 60:40 split.
The IAF will deliver the program under two streams, the release notes. Stream one will be available for recipients looking for reimbursements of already incurred costs whereas stream two targets recipients who are looking to undertake future projects. A flexible framework will help assess applications, considering the risk to the applicants’ workers.