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How COVID-19 has affected the agricultural industry in Canada

Austin Campbell

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International Workers

The farms in Canada provide various types of work to perform by the workers, but since the travel ban of foreign nationals to enter into the country, the labor market has reduced considerably, affecting the production in the agricultural industry.

The production gets at its peak during the spring season as this is the time farmers start planting seeds to let it harvest for all year round. Workers do the majority of the works in Canadian farms from different nations as the farmers cannot find workers around their area to perform the tasks. It is mostly because the local workers do not possess the skill for the works, or there aren’t many Canadians who have applied for the work.

According to Chris Connery, a farmer in Manitoba, around 55 international workers appear to work for his farm every year. The types of crops they produce are carrots, asparagus, strawberries, and broccoli. Connery also has workers who have been working on his farm for around twenty years. But now, due to the restriction of ‘non-residents’ entering Canada, the farmers have stopped coming. Hence, to continue making produce, he either has to change the type of crops he usually plants or have to teach people the skill for the tasks.

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This ban has also put the country’s food security into question as neither their own land is producing sufficient food nor they can now depend on the United States as well as Mexico to provide with both vegetables and fruits.

Although taking measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 is necessary, allowing international workers to enter the country and work for their field is equally important to keep a stable balance of food supply. Many agricultural organizations are teaming up with the Canadian government to come up with a solution.

Besides this, the livelihoods of these workers are also at stake. Without this job, it is becoming challenging for the workers to meet their daily requirements.

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