Support for farmers and agri-food businesses facing financial hardship due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Latest Update - March 17th, 2021: Applications to the 2021-22 Buy BC Partnership Program (cost-shared funding component) are now open until April 7th, 2021 at 4:30pm PST.
Latest Update - March 16th, 2021: The Government of Canada will be moving forward with a two-pronged approach to quarantine requirements for TFWs after March 21st, 2021. This will apply to TFWs with work visas in agriculture, agri-food, fish and seafood sectors based on their final destination:
- Asymptomatic TFWs will be able to travel directly to their place of quarantine after getting a COVID-19 test at the airport provided they travel by private transportation and are accompanied only by others who travelled with them to Canada.
- TFWs who will need to travel by public means of transportation to a secondary location upon arrival in Canada will be required to stay in a GAA and await the results of their COVID-19 test.
The Government of Canada also announced a range of enhanced actions to better protect TFWs and support employers.
Latest Update - March 11th, 2021: The Province is extending its quarantine program for temporary foreign workers coming to B.C. for seasonal agriculture work.
On this page:
- General Government Supports
- Government of Canada Programs
- BC Government Programs
- Other Agriculture Supports
General Government Supports
As long as they meet the eligibility criteria, businesses in the agriculture industry can tap into existing government supports such as:
- Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
- Expanded Work Sharing Program
- Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
- Canada Emergency Rent Support (CERS)
Government of Canada Programs
Local Food Infrastructure Fund
Latest Update: Due to the high volume of applications received, the second application intake period for the Local Food Infrastructure Fund has been put on hold until January 3rd, 2021.
The Local Food Infrastructure Fund aims to strengthen food support organizations and to help improve access to safe and nutritious food for Canadians at risk. Funding will support small and large community-led projects at facilities such as urban gardens, community kitchens, food banks and greenhouses.
Community or charitable organizations, Indigenous groups, and not-for-profit co-operatives can apply to the Local Food Infrastructure Fund.
Government of Canada Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund
On May 14th, the Government of Canada announced a $100-million Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund to support a wide range of agribusiness and agri-food sector enterprises. These include companies involved in primary production, agri-tech, manufacturing, packaging, and distribution. To qualify, companies need to demonstrate an impact from an unexpected business disruption, such as the loss of a key supplier, temporary loss of a facility, or permanent loss of critical staff or leadership.
Farm Credit Canada: COVID-19 Support Program
To ensure producers, agribusinesses and food processors can remain focused on business-critical functions rather than worrying about how to access funds to keep operating through this challenging period, effective immediately, FCC has put in place:
- a deferral of principal and interest payments up to six months for existing loans; or
- a deferral of principal payments up to 12 months
- access to an additional credit line up to $500,000, secured by general security agreements or universal movable hypothec (Québec only)
Mandatory Isolation of Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP)
Farmers, fish harvesters, and all food production and processing employers will receive $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker to ensure that mandatory 14-day isolation period requirements are fully met.
Applications for the 2021 program year will be accepted until 6:00 p.m. EST March 14, 2021 or until funding has been fully committed or until otherwise announced by the program. The 2021 program year begins on January 1, 2021 and will provide funding for workers who arrive in Canada on or after January 1, 2021 and up to March 31, 2021, or the expiry or repeal of the Order under Quarantine Act (currently set to expire April 21, 2021), whichever comes first.
Get details on eligibility and how to apply at Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program.
BC Government Programs
B.C. Agri-Business Planning Program
Agriculture, seafood, and food processing businesses in B.C. that have had their revenues decrease by at least 30% as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible for up to $5,000 in business planning services and coaching from a qualified business consultant for individuals, and up to $20,000 for groups. The aim is to develop an immediate and long-term recovery plan.
Buy BC Partnership Program
Buy BC provides cost-shared funding and a recognizable Buy BC logo to help B.C.’s agrifood and seafood sector market their products and increase sales within B.C.
Support for Animal Care Facilities
Funding is available for animal hygiene, habitat upkeep, veterinarian care, limited transportation,and repairs to equipment required to ensure the welfare of the animals in care. Eligible businesses include B.C. shelters, animal refuges, aquariums, and rehabilitation centres that lack the revenue to ensure animals in their care will not be in distress.
To find out about funding eligibility, email: BRMB.General.Inquiries@gov.bc.ca.
The B.C. Food Hub Network
The B.C. Food Hub Network aims to foster growth and innovation in the processing sector through improved industry access to facilities, equipment, technology, technical services, and business supports. The B.C. Food Hub Network will offer:
- Infrastructure and equipment
- Mentorship and training support
- Product development and testing services
- Networking and information sharing
Learn more about the B.C. Food Hub Network.
B.C. Domestic Temporary Farm Workers COVID-19 PPE Supports Program
The B.C. Domestic Temporary Farm Workers COVID-19 PPE Supports Program is a cost-shared initiative that supports farmers and growers housing Domestic Temporary Farm Workers (DTFW) on-farm in temporary structures such as trailers, campers and tents.
The program will reimburse up to 70% of costs for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to a maximum of $1,000 per organization within eligible guidelines.
Learn more about the B.C. Domestic Temporary Farm Workers COVID-19 PPE Supports Program.
Other Agriculture Supports
The BC Agriculture Council COVID-19 resource list collects dedicated resources for the agricultural sector. Topics include:
- Info for Employers of Seasonal Workers
- Federal Requirements for employers of Temporary Foreign Workers
With resources available in multiple languages, AgSafe BC have produced a comprehensive listing of employer protocols, procedures and safety tips for BC’s agricultural sector.
Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council
Focusing on the human resources aspect, CAHRC’s dedicated COVID webpage contains employee management tips, frequently asked questions and information on creating safety protocols.
WorkSafeBC – Agriculture and COVID-19 Safety
WorkSafeBC is working with workers, employers, and industry associations to ensure agricultural workplaces remain healthy and safe during the COVID-19 outbreak and they continue to be able to produce the foods we need.
For more information from WorkSafeBC, please see:
- Preventing exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace: a guide that employers may use to assess the risks and controls in their workplace.
- COVID-19 health and safety information: general information for all employers and workers about staying safe at work
- Frequently asked questions: answers to questions from British Columbian workers and employers on how to maintain a healthy and safe workplace
Livestock and Other Farmed Animals and COVID-19
Information on the risk from COVID-19 and how to protect your livestock and other farmed animals.