Every year Canadian farmers depend on approximately 60,000 temporary foreign workers who come to our country on short-term visas and do everything from planting asparagus to pruning apple orchards. Given COVID-19, however, it has been challenging for farmers to get these workers on their farms. Fewer people are coming to our country on these temporary visas and when they get here, they have to be quarantined for 14 days in social isolation. This is creating major hurdles for farmers and workers alike that the industry is trying to work through. At the same time, Canadians are facing massive unemployment, especially in the service sector where restaurants and bars have closed.
Is it possible to connect unemployed Canadian workers with farms who desperately need labour? Or are there other things we need to be working on and thinking of as well? To get to the bottom of these questions, Arrell Food Institute’s experts weighed in.