Farm groups in New Brunswick say a ban on new temporary foreign workers couldn’t have come at a worse time, and will have a major impact on food production in the province.
Premier Blaine Higgs imposed the restriction on Tuesday, saying provincial borders need to remain closed with so many serious outbreaks of COVID-19 in surrounding jurisdictions.
He said the move does not affect the status of about 1,500 temporary foreign workers currently in the province.
A number of farm groups are demanding the decision be reversed so they can keep promises to workers that have been assured employment.
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Rebeka Frazer Chiasson, president of the National Farmers Union in New Brunswick says the skilled labour is not easily replaced and many farmers will reduce their risk by limiting the amount they plant.
Agriculture Minister Ross Wetmore says the jobs can be filled by students or people who are temporarily unemployed, but Frazer Chiasson says those people could be called back to their regular jobs at any time.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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