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Feb. 28, 2021 | Sunday
Local News
'The season is starting and we're prepared for it,' Wiens says as farm workers return
A seasonal farm worker sells asparagus at Thwaites Farms. (File/Dariya Baiguzhiyeva)

Seasonal farm workers are arriving in Niagara-on-the-Lake again and things are going a little more smoothly than a year ago.

Coun. Erwin Wiens, a grape farmer, told council Monday night that workers started coming in, mostly from Jamaica and Mexico, in January through Canada's Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program.

He said workers have to take the same COVID precautions as anyone else entering the country.

"They have to test (negative) 72 hours prior to leaving their home country, just like every other traveller," he said.

"And then once they arrive here, they have to quarantine for 14 days."

He said there are also more COVID precautions in homes and on the farm.

"There's new rules that were implemented by the health department back in November, December. And that has brought in the six-foot distancing and (fewer) people per house," he said.

"And also, there's been some federal funding in regards to (personal protective equipment) and that sort of thing."

While workers are beginning to arrive now, the "the influx will start" in February and last until about April, with about 2,000 workers expected, he said.

"Right now it's on track," he said "The season is starting and we're prepared for it."

There have been "some issues with Trinidad and Tobago and immigration" but as far as Wiens is aware, it won't affect any Niagara-on-the-Lake workers, as none are coming from those areas.

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