** Please refer to your provincial association's website for the latest developments in your area **
Emergency On-Farm Support Fund:– Deadline to submit an application is Jan 29, 2021
The Emergency On-Farm Support Fund (EOFSF) was announced on July 31, 2020, and provides $35 million to boost protections for domestic and temporary foreign workers and address COVID-19 outbreaks on farms.
The program will assist agricultural producers with some of the incremental costs for activities that improve the health and safety of all farmworkers, domestic and temporary foreign workers (TFWs) by limiting the spread of COVID-19 in agricultural operations.
The program will provide up to $100,000 per recipient in non-repayable funding for emergency COVID-19 response activities.
Eligible activities can be retroactive to March 15, 2020, and must be completed by February 26, 2021
Eligible recipients are primary Canadian agricultural producers (for example, a farm, ranch or other operation) that produce agricultural products for resale and employ farmworkers (domestic and temporary foreign workers). They can include:
- sole proprietors
- corporations/cooperatives/communal organizations
- band farms
Eligible safety measures
Eligible activities can be retroactive to March 15, 2020 and must be completed by February 26, 2021.
Eligible activities include:
- On-farm retrofit or adjustments to existing agricultural operations to cover extraordinary costs associated with COVID-19 to ensure worker safety, such as:
- Workspace adjustments to allow for proper safety measures and physical distancing
- Enhancements to required employer-provided housing for workers as a result of COVID-19 to ensure worker safety
- Support for temporary housing arrangements for workers in cases where existing facilities cannot adequately allow or be modified to allow for physical distancing (off-farm housing options are eligible where required for prevention of the spread of COVID-19 or control where an outbreak of COVID-19 is confirmed)
- Additional transportation to and from employer provided housing and job-sites to allow physical distancing as a result of COVID-19
- Disposable and non-disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) that are incremental to normal operations due to COVID-19, such as:
- Disposable PPE such as masks, sanitizer, etc.
- Non-disposable PPE such as body temperature screening, face shields, etc.
- Other associated costs related to worker training and safety COVID-19 protocols, such as:
- Costs associated with worker implementation of enhanced protocols such as interpretation services or training on COVID-19 protocols
Information and how to apply is available on the government of Canada website https://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/agri...
The Government of Canada announced the expansion of the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
Starting on Friday, December 4, 2020, eligible businesses facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are able to access a second CEBA loan of up to $20,000 – on top of the initial $40,000 that was available to small businesses. Half of this additional financing, up to $10,000, will be forgivable if the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022.
This means the additional loan effectively increases CEBA loans from the existing $40,000 to $60,000 for eligible businesses, of which a total of $20,000 will be forgiven if the balance of the loan is repaid on time. As announced in the Fall Economic Statement, the application deadline for CEBA has also been extended to March 31, 2021.
To apply, eligible businesses and not-for-profits need to contact the financial institution that provided their initial CEBA loan and provide the appropriate information and documentation.
WHERE TO START:
To get the help you need:
1. To help slow the spread of COVID-19 and safely reopen our economy, download the COVID Alert App.
2. Visit our government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan website for information about supporting your employees and your business.
3. Contact your local financial institution. Since we know most small businesses have a relationship with their local financial institution already, we’ve worked with the financial sector to increase their lending capacity to support you in this challenging time. They are an excellent first resource.
4. Consult the Canadian Business Resilience Network, a partnership between our government and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to help your business prepare, persevere and prosper through this crisis.
5. Check out the new PPE Supply Hub – Canadian businesses in need of personal protective equipment, and businesses looking to sell these supplies can go to this hub to connect.
6. Make the POST Promise to show employees and customers that you take COVID-19 prevention seriously by practicing key health and safety steps and maintain a safe workplace.
7. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety – for a free online course to provide businesses with all the information they need to reopen safely.
New measures for employers who seek to bring in workers through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program
The Government of Canada is also taking measures to improve flexibility and reduce the administrative burden for employers. The following measures are being applied proactively to all existing LMIA applications under review, as well as to new applications as they are received:
- employers are not required to submit minor administrative changes to the LMIA that would not change the terms and conditions
- recruitment requirements for LMIAs in key occupations related to the agriculture and agri-food sectors are being waived until October 31, 2020.
- LMIAs in key occupations related to the agriculture and agri-food sectors will be be prioritized for processing.
- the maximum duration of employment under LMIAs is increased from 1 to 2 years for employers of workers in the low-wage stream as part of a three-year pilot
- employers applying under the Agricultural stream or Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program can submit a previously valid Housing Inspection Report (HIR), and
- the name change processes for employers wishing to change the name of already identified foreign worker, for reasons related to COVID-19, has been expedited
More information can be found at the ESDC website at https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/foreign-workers.html.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT & RESOURCES
- Updated resource page for all Federal programs and supports
- Payroll and COVID-19 - ENGLISH / FRENCH
- COVID-19 and the Workplace: ESA Amendment, Federal Benefits & Layoff Principles - Download
- CAHRC - Impact of Access to Foreign Workers on the Agriculture Industry - ENGLISH / FRENCH
- Advance Payments Program for Farmers - Download
SUGGESTED PRACTICES GUIDES
Landscape Canada - COVID-19 suggested precautions
Garden Centres Canada - COVID-19 suggested precautions
- Government of Canada
- World Health Organization
- Business Pandemic Preparedness Checklist
- COVID-19 Question Series: More Answers About What You May Owe Employees
For additional support, please visit Mental Health Resources.
To support the second item, AAFC has asked us to quantify the losses experienced and expected if things continue as they are now. I have developed a survey for primary producers to help CNLA estimate the amount of financial aid growers across Canada will need. This survey will be released weekly for the next little while to capture changes that occur week to week.
Garden Centres Canada and COVID-19
This is a time of isolation and collaboration. Our GCC members and volunteers have been busy sharing ideas, suggestions, and advocating to keep retail garden centres open. The comradery and amount of sharing is heartwarming. We are together and we will get through this. We ask that you keep a keen eye on your Provincial Association’s website COVID response tabs, this is the best source in understanding what is going on for our sector.