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New web portal to help Canadian growers as first foreign workers could be arriving next week

In order to ensure grocery store shelves remain full and families have food on the table during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government of Ontario is launching a new web portal, connecting workers with employers looking to fill positions in the agri-food sector. This new online tool will make it easier to match people to essential jobs and training resources throughout the provincial food supply chain.

"Right now, there are important jobs that need to be filled across the food supply chain and we are looking for individuals who embody the Ontario spirit to step up and provide an essential service," said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "From farm to fork, it's these dedicated heroes in the agri-food sector who are working through this difficult period each and every day to keep food on our kitchen tables."

In the last weeks it has been uncertain if foreign workers would be able to come to Canada for working in the horticultural sector. In the latest update from the Western Agriculture Labour Initiative (WALI), the association estimates that the first charter flight of workers from Mexico could be arriving during the week of April 13, 2020.

This will be dependent on whether BC protocols for foreign temporary workers are released and approved by the Government of Mexico next week. Timelines may change due to the evolving situation in Mexico and Canada.

Sources: Ontario Government and Greenhouse Canada

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