Fruit and vegetable growers say sweeping new travel restrictions are cutting off the flow of seasonal labour to Canadian farms, threatening to disrupt harvests as Ottawa bars foreign travellers in an attempt to contain the rapid spread of the Coronavirus.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said all international visitors to Canada — with the exception of Americans, diplomats and flight crews — will be refused at the airport beginning Wednesday.
Roughly 60,000 workers from countries including the Caribbean, Guatemala and Mexico arrive in Canada each year to seed and harvest crops of tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, cabbages and other fruits and vegetables. Farmers’ associations that send airplanes to transport the workers to Canada, were given until midnight Tuesday to bring the last group of 250 employees into the country, said Ken Forth, a broccoli grower and chair of the labour section of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association.
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