COVID-19 Update: April 8

Hello everyone,

I hope you have been taking advantage of the nice weather we’ve been having, taking care of yourselves, your families and your health. After a week since my last message, I’m here to bring you another COVID-19 update.

As you would have seen in our last update, we formed a working group with Perennia and the Department of Agriculture related to the logistics of bringing in and self-isolating our Temporary Foreign Workers upon their arrival. This group continues to collaborate and is working hard to develop a plan to move forward with. Below my message you will find an update from the working group.

Last week, we launched our job portal which includes a job bank where you can submit openings you have for the season. This portal is also being promoted to the public, in an effort to recruit local labour to help fill some of the vacant roles on our farms. We encourage you to submit any openings you have on your operations, as the information gathered will also support our advocacy on the labour gap and challenges in filling that gap.

In our discussions with government, both provincially and federally, we continue to emphasize the importance of putting financial supports in place for Nova Scotia farmers – to help with cash flow on operations, as well as risk management support.

We have been hearing concerns related to the impact COVID-19 is having on our livestock producers in the province. Members have raised concerns about the impact on producers and availability of meat, dairy and eggs if a processor is forced to shut down for staffing reasons. As well as their concerns related to the messaging from retailers with their quantity limitations – this indicates to consumers that there is a shortage of meat, dairy and eggs being produced, which is not the case our farms continue to produce ample product. We are bringing these concerns to our joint calls and will continue to advocate on your behalf.

Ensuring Nova Scotians have food on their plates is the driving force behind farms in Nova Scotia.

Until next time,

Victor Oulton

TFW Working Group – Update

As previously mentioned there has been a joint working group established between NSFA, Perennia and NSDA. The goal of this working group is to support Nova Scotia farmers in successfully isolating their temporary foreign workers (TFW,) as required by federal and provincial governments. Making sure we do so in the safest way possible, in the time available, so that farmers can begin their seasons as soon as possible under these extraordinary circumstances.

The logistics organized by F.A.R.M.S. will continue to be coordinated through them as usual so please be sure to follow their regular updates on contract amendments and ongoing discussions with respective countries.

We have learned that the goal is to have a charter flight arriving direct to Halifax from Jamaica the week of April 14 – details to be confirmed. We also remind you that F.A.R.M.S. is very busy and are working through their backlog and will be in touch with farmers in due time. Our role as a working group is to support on the ground logistics upon arrival and through self-isolation.

All farms expecting TFWs were phoned on Sunday or Monday by a member of this working group.  If you did not receive a call recently and are approved for and expecting TFW’s this year – please contact Perennia at (902)678-7722. Then a member of the committee will be in touch to support co-ordination for your workers.

The working group is looking at options for transportation from the airport and isolation locations for those unable to self-isolate on-farm. The working group will contact all farms directly again this week. Farmers will still be responsible for their workers during that period. We are recommending that all farms be prepared to self-isolate on-farm and/or to support their workers through the self-isolation at an off-farm facility. This includes cleaning supplies, personal hygiene supplies, snacks, etc.

We are also working on the development of resources to support you through the self-isolation including fact sheets, posters and log forms. These will be available online at soon.

Please refer to all applicable documents as you prepare to welcome your workers from to Nova Scotia: