Friday, March 27, 2020

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced additional new measures to support small businesses dealing with the economic impacts of the pandemic.

CSTA attended a call today with AAFC, some highlights are below:

TFW’s: The temporary foreign worker exemption to the border closure was signed by the Governor General yesterday and it is now legal for temporary foreign workers to enter Canada, subject to a mandatory 14 day quarantine. Employers are responsible for ensuring staff respect the quarantine period. Government expects further guidance on the quarantine period will be made available soon. AAFC is looking at organizing a working group to work with employer groups to try and overcome challenges bringing workers in, such as additional costs. More information can be found here.

Critical infrastructure: The government is working with to finalize guidance on critical infrastructure which will recognize food and the agriculture supply chain as critical infrastructure (the rough federal equivalent to being an essential service). It will be modelled after the approach taken by the US Department of Homeland Security and Canadian provinces, as well as working with individual industries to look at issues and ensuring that they have the clearest understanding possible of what the requirements are. Further updates to come soon; the objective is to issue guidance in the coming days.

CFIA Services: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will soon issue guidance on protocols on how their staff will operate in a facility with an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19. The first priority is to focus guidance on staff that operate in meat and poultry processing establishments due to the nature of the work. CFIA will then work to broaden the guidance to other third party establishments where inspectors operate.

International supply chains: The overall guidance is to contact AAFC with any issues, an overview is below:

  • US: Some transportation issues at the border with various reasons for drivers to be declared inadmissible, such as lacking permits, nationality, point of entry, or other recent travel. If you are concerned that border rejection is unjustified contact US Customs and Border Patrol or CBSA information line.
  • Mexico: customs is committed to continue work to minimize disruptions.
  • EU: some delays with air freight and ground transportation, but things are moving generally well.
  • Asia: product moving well but with delays. Shortages of containers are due to situation in China, but that is starting to improve.