P.E.I. seafood processers want assurance feds will pay quarantine costs for temporary foreign workers

·1 min read
Most air passengers entering Canada must quarantine in a hotel for three days upon arrival. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
Most air passengers entering Canada must quarantine in a hotel for three days upon arrival. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

The head of the P.E.I. Seafood Processors Association wants confirmation on who will pay for a three-day quarantine for temporary foreign workers.

Agricultural officials and seafood plant owners have been concerned since new rules started with international flights reduced to four Canadian airports, and the requirement people get tested and stay in a hotel for three days before heading to their final destination.

On Tuesday, Ottawa announced the rules will start for temporary foreign workers March 21, unless they can be chartered on a separate plane or bus to their destination.

Jerry Gavin, executive director of the P.E.I. Seafood Processors Association, wants reassurances Ottawa will pay for the quarantine.

"If you're coming in from, say, the Philippines, we have a fair amount of our temporary foreign workers come from there, like you land at an international airport, and you're going to have to go into quarantine for three days. And that's quite expensive. It's probably anywhere between $1,500 to $2,000," he said.

"So we're still waiting for clarification from the federal government because what they're saying is employers will not assume any incremental costs associated with that three-day quarantine."

The plants on P.E.I. bring about 600 temporary foreign workers a year. Gavin said they are exploring partnering with other processors in the region to combine workers and charter them in, if possible.

He said workers from Mexico and the Caribbean are being chartered into Halifax, where they will be bused to P.E.I. and then will quarantine at a central facility.

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