The Canadian government is investing $58.6 million into making further investments to safeguard the health and safety of Canada and temporary foreign workers (TWFs) from COVID-19, the federal government says in a news release on July 31.
“Any unsafe working conditions are completely unacceptable. While we are proud of the worker protections we have in this country, we recognize that there are important issues that need to be addressed within the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and we are taking action,” says Carla Qualtrough, minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion, in the release.
The investment includes $7.4 million to increase supports for TFWs including $6 million for direct outreach to workers delivered through migrant worker support organizations. There is $16.2 million for strengthening employer inspection routines, particularly on farms, and making improvements to how tips and allegations of employer non-compliance are addressed. And there is $35 million to improve health and safety on farms in employee living quarters to prevent the spread of COVID-19, this will be a 50-50 cost sharing with applicants.
The federal government will also work on developing mandatory requirement to improve employer-provided accommodations, the release notes. The federal government will work with the provinces and territories, employers, workers and foreign partner countries on this.
The federal government has also put in place amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations in order to hold employers accountable and to keep workers safe. These changes require employers to pay workers during their initial quarantine and ensure workers are able to observe the two-week quarantine period, the release says.