Ag workers exempt from B.C. travel restrictions

Ag workers exempt from B.C. travel restrictions
Apr 29, 2021

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Workers may want to have documentation on hand to be safe, an industry group said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Migrant workers employed by British Columbia farms are exempt from provincial travel restrictions.

The provincial government announced on April 23 that non-essential travel between three regions (Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, Northern/Interior and Vancouver Island) is prohibited until May 25.

Non-essential travel includes tourism activities, social gatherings or family visits. People found out of compliance with these rules could receive a $575 fine.

Farm workers, however, are allowed to travel between these regions.

B.C. receives about 12,000 international workers each year who work in the province’s ag sector.

Each of those workers will be allowed to travel to their place of employment, said Reg Ens, executive director of the British Columbia Agriculture Council (BCAC).

“We confirmed (with the provincial government) that this exemption is for anyone working,” he told Farms.com. “We just wanted to make sure that when the workers get onto the buses we arrange that they’ll be permitted to travel to their farms.”

Not all temporary foreign workers travel on buses organized by the BCAC.

In those cases, Ens recommends workers and employers have proper documentation should they run into any issues, especially with the government indicating it may set up road checks along travel corridors.

“We don’t know what these checks are going to look like,” Ens said. “But if I’m a farmer and I arranged to pick up my workers myself, having the proper paperwork to show why I’m traveling isn’t a bad idea.

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