Despite unprecedented unemployment, the Trudeau government has promised more support for foreign workers so Mexico we resume sending foreign workers to Canada.
A week after Mexico stopped sending foreign workers to Canada, the two countries announced a new deal to give extra protections to farm labourers on Monday.
The Mexican government says that Canada has committed to more support for Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) and more inspections of Canadian businesses to ensure Mexican nationals are protected from the coronavirus.
The Canadian government has said that officials will be taking extra measures to ensure businesses are doing enough to keep foreign workers safe.
“In cases of significant non-compliance by employers of temporary foreign workers, strict sanctions will be applied,” federal employment minister Carla Qualtrough said in a letter to Mexico’s ambassador to Canada.
In May, Canada reported its highest unemployment in modern history at 13.7%. Statistics Canada reports that 40.3% of Canadian students are unemployed.
True North Founder Candice Malcolm recently proposed a national work program to create jobs for young Canadians while also reducing the need for TFWs during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a recent poll, 61% of Canadians surveyed believed that “Canada should temporarily pause the Temporary Foreign Workers program until a vaccine is developed for the coronavirus and the unemployment rate drops down to pre-coronavirus levels.”
Mexico is one of the biggest sources of foreign workers in Canada, making up half of Canada’s foreign labour force on farms.
Last week, Mexico began blocking its citizens from coming to Canada as foreign workers. The decision was prompted after two Mexican TFWs died of coronavirus after arriving in Canada.
Over 300 Mexican TFWs have tested positive for coronavirus while in Canada, with many large outbreaks occurring at farms.
“It’s so we can reassess with the federal authorities, provinces and farmers why this happened and if there is anything to correct,” Mexican Ambassador Juan Jose Gomez Camacho told CBC.
At least 5000 Mexican TFWs who were prepared to come to Canada had been blocked from coming to Canada by the Mexican government.
While Mexico had protected its citizens by preventing them from travelling abroad during a pandemic, the Canadian government has done everything it can to ensure foreign workers can get to Canada.
During the peak of the coronavirus pandemic between March 15 to May 8 around 13,000 foreign workers approved to come to Canada.
The Trudeau government has pledged $50 million to pay for foreign workers to self isolate for two weeks before they begin working in Canada.