As the impacts on the sector have changed since the beginning of the pandemic, AAFC will host COVID-19 information sharing calls with stakeholders on a “as needed” basis. AAFC will also send a COVID-19 Monthly Information Update email. Please contact AAFC via the roundtable generic email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for any questions or to be added to the monthly email update list.
Federal resources for producers and businesses
Resources for producers and businesses
For details on the programming available, including how to apply, please visit the COVID-19: Financial support for people, businesses and organizations.
Guidance for food business activities and processes
The food industry should continue to follow guidance and protocols set out by local public health officials. Instructions may vary depending on the spread of COVID-19 in certain areas and provinces, and the products they produce. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has released additional guidance for meat processors, however the same guidance can be applied more broadly to other third party establishments.
For additional information on practices, please consult the CFIA's dedicated industry COVID-19 website.
For additional information on how businesses can support their employees and continue to operate during a pandemic, please consult the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.
Agri-food workers, jobs and temporary foreign workers
Conditions and obligations for temporary foreign workers and their employers during the COVID-19 pandemic
Employment and Social Development Canada's COVID-19 frequently asked questions (FAQ) page provides details on travel exemptions for temporary foreign workers coming into Canada and the associated protocols. Intended to complement public health information provided for travellers to Canada, the FAQs provide information on quarantine, testing and other COVID-19 measures for temporary foreign workers and employers.
As in years past, employers and their associations are responsible for organizing travel for temporary foreign workers. Employment and Social Development Canada has provided guidance on the obligations of employers of temporary foreign workers which can be found at:
Employers are also expected to follow any unique guidelines established by the province in which they operate.
Job portal: Step up to the plate — Help feed Canadians
There is a strong need for workers on Canadian farms and in food processing businesses across the country right. Canadians, especially those whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19, are encouraged to apply for jobs in the food sector at Step up to the plate — Help feed Canadians.
Public health guidance and personal protective equipment (PPE) resources
Essential Services Contingency Reserve (ESCR)
Explore if your organization or business is eligible to request access to the Government of Canada's Essential Services Contingency Reserve (ESCR). Learn about the contingency reserve, find eligibility requirements and access application forms.
Workplace guidance for the sector
Agriculture and Agri-food Canada has compiled federal public health guidance for sector employers and employees during COVID-19. The guidance is updated regularly in close consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada.
PPE federal supply hub
The Government of Canada has launched the federal supply hub to provide information for organizations buying and selling personal protective equipment (PPE). The hub provides resources and consumer guidance for PPE and is updated regularly.
Trade and transportation
Transportation across provincial and territorial boundaries
Truck drivers supporting the agricultural and agri-food sector are considered essential workers as outlined in the Guidance on essential services and functions in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. To make sure that these drivers can cross borders, the Government of Canada is providing employers a template letter to confirm the status of their drivers as essential workers. Employers can fill out the Employment confirmation – essential transportation worker form, print it and give it to their drivers to carry while transporting these goods.
For all issues at the border, including information on border crossings, please contact the Canada Border Services Agency 24/7 border information service line at 1-800-461-9999.
International agricultural trade
The Government of Canada is closely monitoring the economic and agricultural trade impacts of COVID-19, as countries continue to implement various measures to contain the spread of the disease. At this time, COVID-19 is disrupting shipping logistics around the world and presenting some challenges involving the movement of food. Many of Canada's trade partners have implemented travel restrictions and additional safety measures at ports, which is causing delays throughout the international supply chain.
Despite these challenges, most of Canada's trade partners consider the food supply chain as critical during this time, and Canada remains in a strong position to supply our international customers with safe, high-quality agricultural products.
For more information on how the government is supporting Canadian exporters and the free flow of goods and services across our international borders, please visit the Trade Commissioner Services website.
Essential services and functions
Services and functions that are essential to the continuity of operations and incident response in the context of COVID-19, are listed at Guidance on essential services and functions in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Support for people experiencing food insecurity
The Government of Canada is working with established national and regional networks to help improve access to food for people experiencing food insecurity.
Details about this initiative are at Supporting people experiencing food insecurity in Canada because of COVID-19.
Sanitization and quarantine protocols
For information on sanitization practices, please consult Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): CFIA information for industry. For information on quarantine and isolation best practices, please visit canada.ca/coronavirus.
COVID-19 and food
There is no evidence that food is a transmission route for the virus.
At this time, there have been no reported cases of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has strong measures in place to ensure the safety of Canada's food supply. If the CFIA becomes aware of a potential food safety risk, appropriate actions will be taken to protect Canada's food supply and to inform the public and industry.
All Canadians should continue to follow good hygiene practices during food handling and preparation, such as:
- washing hands
- regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
- cooking meat thoroughly
- avoiding potential cross-contamination between cooked and uncooked foods
Support for non-profit organizations
A Food Rescue Canadian Alliance Task Force has been launched for food suppliers across the supply chain and not-for-profit organizations to work together to ensure food gets to Canadians and communities at-risk of food insecurity. Food Rescue and Food Mesh support the redistribution of surplus food to those who need it.
For funding support, not-for-profit organizations are asked to contact the organizations that received funding directly.
Resources for producers and businesses
Industry resources (CFA, CHARC, and more)
The following Canadian organizations have developed a series of industry resources to help guide the agriculture sector during COVID-19: