Temporary foreign workers from Mexico plant strawberries on a farm in Mirabel, Que., Wednesday, May 6, 2020. The Mexican government says it will resume sending farm workers to Canada after securing a promise of better working conditions to curb outbreaks of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Mexico will resume sending workers to Canada after deal on better COVID-19 protections

At least two Mexican men have died and hundreds more have fallen ill with COVID-19

The Mexican government says it will resume sending farm workers to Canada after securing promises for more inspections and oversight to curb outbreaks of COVID-19.

At least two Mexican men have died and hundreds more have fallen ill with COVID-19 in recent weeks on farms across the country.

The situation led Mexico to temporarily stop allowing workers to leave for Canada, sending shock waves through the agricultural sector, which is highly dependent on foreign labour.

But the Mexican government says it has now struck a deal with the federal Liberal government that will lead to improvements in the temporary foreign worker program.

In a press release late Sunday, Mexico says Canada has committed to increased inspections, as well as more support for Mexican officials and workers to identify and report unsafe working conditions.

A working group will also be set up with Mexican and Canadian government officials to deal with the issue.

In a letter to Mexico’s ambassador to Canada, sent Friday, federal employment minister Carla Qualtrough says Canada is committed to ensuring the safety of people crucial to Canada’s food security.

A copy of the letter was obtained by The Canadian Press.

It lays out some of the detailed options under consideration by the federal government, including assessments of farms where there have been outbreaks to see what instructions need to be improved, as well as increased inspections on farms where new clusters of COVID-19 infection emerge.

The federal government also promises to reach out to employers to make sure they are following all the rules that have been put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 on farms.

“In cases of significant non-compliance by employers of temporary foreign workers, strict sanctions will be applied,” the letter says.

A spokesperson for Qualtrough said the government had no further comment and would let the letter speak for itself.

There are no timelines attached to the Liberal government’s commitments, but the letter describes them as “short-term measures,” and promises the government is exploring other options.

In their press release, the Mexican government said they appreciate that Canada was willing to work with them to find solutions, and the deal is evidence of the strong bilateral relationship between the two countries.

READ MORE: Four temporary foreign workers on separate flights to B.C. test positive for COVID-19

READ MORE: COVID-19 shows B.C. is too dependent on foreign food production workers

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CanadaCoronavirusMexicoTemporary foreign workers

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

How Blue River’s Community Garden bloomed into existence

For about six years now the Blue River Community Garden has seen… Continue reading

District of Barriere Utilities Manager reports to council on Barriere wells

District of Barriere Utilities Manager Ian Crosson presented a verbal report during… Continue reading

North Thompson reacts from heavy rains and snow melt

The North Thompson River had its ups and downs this past week… Continue reading

COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Rocking the pandemic and rolling along with a smile

As we navigate COVID-19 within our communities, many residents continue to step… Continue reading

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Northern B.C. First Nations call for reversal of grizzly bear hunting ban

Growing grizzly populations have led to fewer ungulates and increased fear of attacks says Chad Day

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

Most Read