Temporary Foreign Farmworkers Must Self-Isolate

Last Updated: June 2, 2020

  • All temporary foreign workers arriving in B.C. for seasonal farm work are required to self-isolate in government-managed accommodations for 14 days before being transported to their farm
  • Host farm operators must ensure a safe workplace and demonstrate a proof of an infection control protocol

On this page:

Screening Process on Arrival

Temporary foreign workers will be screened before departing their country of origin, by the airline and federal government for COVID-19 symptoms and will not be permitted to travel to Canada until they do not show symptoms.

Upon arrival in Canada, temporary foreign workers will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms by federal officials (Canadian Border Service Agency and Public Health Agency of Canada).

  • If they have symptoms upon arrival, depending on the severity of their condition, they may be placed in quarantine at the point of entry or be sent to the hospital as per the federal Quarantine Act
  • If they do not show symptoms, workers will be sent to a government-managed accommodation to begin their self-isolation for 14 days

Self-Isolate Successfully

Financial Support During Self-Isolation

The Province will fund hotel, food-service and worker support costs during the 14-day self-isolation period.

  • Accommodation will be in the Lower Mainland near the Vancouver International Airport and will not be at the farm workplace
  • Access to socio-economic and cultural supports will be provided for workers while they self-isolate

Employers are responsible for paying temporary foreign workers for a minimum 30 hours per week during self-isolation.

Monitoring Symptoms During & After Self-Isolation

Temporary foreign workers will need to monitor their conditions during self-isolation.

  • If symptoms like a cough, shortness of breath or fever develop, workers must report to the local health authority or call 8-1-1

Following 14 days of self-isolation, if no symptoms develop (or once the worker is fully recovered if symptoms do develop) and their farm has passed inspection, workers will be safely transported to their farm.

  • Workplace health and safety offices and employment standards are available to support temporary foreign workers

Temporary foreign workers are expected to comply with the Provincial Health Officer's orders and recommendations.

Farm Operators Must Ensure a Safe Workplace

All farms, including those that employ temporary foreign workers, must follow the Ministry of Agriculture's series of requirements to protect B.C. farmers and farmworkers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Series of Requirements Guidance:

If farm operators do not comply with this process and requirements, the arrival of temporary foreign workers at a farm will be delayed, denied and/or prohibited.

Process to Receive Temporary Foreign Workers

Farm operators that employ temporary foreign workers must apply for authorization from the Province to receive temporary foreign workers. Farm operators must:

  • Complete a mandatory COVID-19 workplace risk assessment 
  • Implement a mandatory COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) protocol 
  • Provide proof of protocol to the ministry
  • Receive a farm site inspection

Site inspections are scheduled after your workers arrive in Canada and proof of protocol is received. 

To provide proof of protocol, submit the Screening Form.

Submit Screening Form online  Note: The form does not work on Internet Explorer

Farm Site Inspections

You will be subject to a site inspection of your farm worksites and accommodations prior to the release of temporary foreign workers after their mandatory 14 day quarantine period.

  • The Province of BC will use the information you provide through the online form for the site inspection that determines your compliance and readiness to receive workers
  • You must identify all sites temporary foreign workers will be going to – failure to do so will result in inspection delays
  • If you have already received a site inspection, but require an inspection at an additional site, you must contact your inspector to notify them of this additional site. Submitting your form does not automatically trigger an inspection. If you do not have your inspector’s email or phone number, please contact AGRI.TFWProgram@gov.bc.ca.
  • Employers who pass inspection before the date their workers are set to arrive, but fail to properly identify each farm site and accommodation site receiving workers will be responsible for the hotel accommodation and food costs for each additional day workers must be held back at the hotel until all sites pass inspection

Federal Government Resources

The federal government has shared information to ensure employers, workers and stakeholders are aware of their obligations to comply with public health requirements in the context of COVID-19.

  • Joint letter outlining expectations of employers seeking to bring in temporary foreign workers to Canada are documented from the federal Ministers of Health and Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
  • Frequently Asked Questions and guidance on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Information includes the payment of wages during the 14-day self-isolation period, housing requirements and what to do if a worker becomes sick with COVID-19. This document should be used by employers and stakeholders to complement the Guidance to Employers previously shared