Canada gives $2.18M to help temporary foreign workers affected by Covid
The Canadian government has awarded $2.18 million to KAIROS Canada to support and help temporary foreign workers, especially in the agricultural sector during the Covid-19 pandemic, the organization announced.
The funds from Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program will be used to expand support and services to temporary foreign workers with limited means in the Maritimes and Ontario regions and will end on June 30, 2021.
The project’s key components are information sharing, and capacity building to provide access to resources, and services for temporary foreign workers.
Through government information resources, tutorials, workshops and webinars, temporary foreign workers will learn about health and safety precautions related to Covid-19, and the proper and effective use of personal protective equipment, hygiene and sanitation, and other related public health protocols.
The funding will strengthen workers’ capacity in accessing services and benefits (including medical), exercising their rights, and receiving direct services and emergency assistance. KAIROS and partners will also identify any service gaps that need filling.
KAIROS is a social justice organization that includes ten Canadian churches and religious organizations. Partner organizations are Cooper Institute in PEI, Filipino-Canadian Community of New Brunswick (FCNB), No One Is Illegal – Halifax; and in Ontario: The Neighbourhood Organization (TNO), Durham Region Migrant Workers Ministry, Center for Migrant Workers Solidarity in Simcoe. Collaboration with additional community organizations and service providing agencies in these regions is anticipated.
“People brought to Canada from overseas to work here are often not aware of or are unable to access available services or advocate for themselves if their rights are violated, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.” says Connie Sorio, KAIROS Canada’s Migrant Justice Coordinator.
Accounts of unsafe work conditions, underpayment, and inadequate housing, health care and legal or settlement services are well reported. Covid-19 has dramatically worsened this situation.
Organizations that support migrant workers have struggled to respond adequately given their size and limited resources. For migrant workers, the increased isolation imposed by the pandemic makes finding and accessing supports from multiple providers even more difficult.
“This funding from the Government of Canada will help KAIROS and important frontline organizations expand our capacity to serve vulnerable workers,” says Lori Ransom, Interim Executive Director, KAIROS Canada.
“Thanks to this project. Now we could have the support to improve their living and working experiences during the emergency situations related to Covid-19.” Gina Moreno, president, Filipino-Canadian Community of New Brunswick (FCNB).
“From my experience, both as a former migrant farm worker and working as an advocate for and with migrant workers, I am extremely happy to be associated with a team of amazing people on this project which puts the health and wellness of vulnerable migrant farm workers first and foremost.” Gabriel Allahdua, TNO Outreach Coordinator.