Delayed arrival of migrant workers worries Niagara greenhouse growers

New requirements of air travellers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding a plane to Canada are proving to be a barrier for temporary foreign workers from Mexico.

Announced Dec. 31, the Transport Canada regulations came into effect Jan. 7, leaving some Niagara greenhouse growers worried about if and when much relied-upon migrant workers will arrive.

Sharon Snoei, sales director at Homestead Growers Niagara in Lincoln, said she recently texted the five men in Mexico who come to work at Homestead each year about the new rules.

“It’s definitely nerve-wracking because we rely on these guys and we try to bring them in early because they have to quarantine,” Snoei said. 

The new rules require that air travellers over the age of five test negative for COVID-19 72 hours before boarding a flight to Canada. An exception, until Jan. 14, has been made for travellers from Caribbean or South American countries, who are able to provide test results taken within 96 hours prior to boarding.

Anyone travelling into the country is still required to comply with a mandatory 14-day quarantine, regardless of having tested negative for COVID-19 prior to arriving in Canada.

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