Closing the borders: the farmers will be able to have the help of foreign workers

Fermeture des frontières: les agriculteurs pourront avoir l’aide des travailleurs étrangers

Of fruit and vegetable producers in quebec are relieved that the federal government has finally authorised, on Wednesday, the entry of foreign workers despite the closure of the borders. They remain, however, to declare victory too quickly.

“It is not won in advance, but it is safe “, was quick to launch Philippe Beauregard, of the Potager Mont-Rouge, in Montérégie, a few minutes after the announcement of the canadian minister of public Safety, Bill Blair, on Wednesday afternoon.

Philippe Beauregard, of the Potager Mont-Rouge, feared since Monday, not being able to grow fruits and vegetables for the inhabitants of Quebec, this summer, if his foreign employees had been blocked at the borders closed by the government because of the virus.

Ottawa will allow foreign employees temporary to bring the country to ensure vegetable production, while observing security measures, despite the closure of canadian borders to non-residents.

“There was no other solution. It is also tragic that it, ” continues the entrepreneur of the family that, like others, feared outright have to give up to sow squash and strawberries this season, without the help of his mexican workers. He would then have suffered a loss in excess of $ 1 million, in addition to reduce the variety in the consumer’s plate.

They have been heard

Wednesday morning, the different actors of the agricultural world had implored the government to exempt these some 16 000 seasonal workers. They have pleaded that it was ” an essential service “. It seems that they have been heard.

“It is important, it is to be understood, because it matters a lot in the winter but in the summer, it is produced here, in large part by temporary foreign workers,” said the prime minister of Québec, François Legault, in press briefing on Wednesday.

Fermeture des frontières: les agriculteurs pourront avoir l’aide des travailleurs étrangers

Photo courtesyGerry Van Winden
CEO of Vegpro

“Prevent [their] coming, would have resulted in disastrous consequences on the agricultural sector, particularly horticulture, but above all on the cost of the grocery basket of Canadians “, has responded positively Marcel Groleau, president of the Union of agricultural producers.

Price and shortage

“We now have something to start to defend themselves, but it is not out of the woods” admitted Gerry Van Winden, CEO of Vegpro in Saint-Patrice-de-Sherrington, in Montérégie, and that is hiring close to 200 Mexican seasonal workers.

He anticipated problems of large-scale for his company, but also for the industry.

“The price would have increased drastically, and it would be risky, very hard to miss product on the shelves, he added. It is sure that it will still disrupt. There will be procedures to complete. Some workers will not want to come. But at least, this will not be a disaster.

– With Remi Nadeau, parliamentary Bureau

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