Coronavirus: Uncertainty over temporary foreign workers worries Atlantic farmers

The impacts of the global novel coronavirus pandemic are wide-spread and have now brought uncertainty and worry over the nation’s food supply.

Those who know what it takes to feed the nation best — farmers — say they are concerned about how shutdowns at the border may affect their ability to produce food.

“Right now farmers are feeling a lot of stress, especially in the fruit and veg industry,” said Katie Keddy who runs Charles Keddy Farms in the Annapolis Valley with her husband Phillip.

That stress stems directly from the upcoming harvest season, during which Nova Scotia typically brings in around 1,500 temporary foreign workers. Farmers remain uncertain about whether or not border closures due to conronavirus will keep those workers from arriving in Canada.

Many temporary migrants are labourers who are highly skilled, fill important roles, operate heavy machinery and in many cases lead work crews.

“We, right now, are in a crucial time because spring is coming fast and we have jobs that have to get done in a certain time frame,” she explained.

Temporary foreign workers have been a staple in the Keddy’s operations for nearly 30 years.

In the early 1990s, a shortage of local workers put the massive producer of strawberries and sweet potatoes nearly out of business.

Source: Read Full Article