Let me begin by saying that I hope all of you are doing well and staying safe. This has no doubt been a very trying time for everyone with many changes and uncertainties as we are preparing to move into one of the most critical times of our season. Please understand that the board has been working very hard in conjunction with CHC, other provincial associations and various government agencies to address the challenges of getting our foreign workers into the province and available for work. While some were able to bring workers in before the travel restrictions were put into place, many of us were not. The first charter plane of TFWs arrived yesterday to bring in some of the workers from Nicaragua, however, many remain without travel documents and/or passports. Rest assured that the board will continue to work diligently to bring as many of the contracted TFWs as possible into the province in a timely manner. We appreciate your cooperation and patience in these matters.
For those whose workers are just arriving or will hopefully arrive in the near future, it is of critical importance that you abide by federal and provincial requirements and recommendations. The required 14-day isolation quarantine period is mandatory and applies to all foreign workers. Obviously the health and safety of the TFWs, our own employees and families, as well as the community are the primary concern and reason for abiding by these practices. There are also significant penalties in place including fines of up to $1,000,000 and 3 years in prison for anyone violating this policy. Even beyond the 14-day self isolation period, it is important to impress upon your TFWs the appropriate social distancing practices to minimize community contact and opportunities for transmission of the virus. The damage to the reputations of the beekeeping industry and the Temporary Foreign Worker program that could be done if our incoming workers would be perceived to be the source of new COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan would be profound.
If you are uncertain about the requirements and/or expectations of TFWs and their employers, information can be found online at https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/foreign-workers/employer-compliance/covid-faq.html Furthermore, you can contact your local MLA or MP office. You may also contact members of the SBDC board with questions and we will do our best to provide you with the most up-to-date information.
Thank you for your cooperation in these matters. Best wishes to all of you in the upcoming season. Stay safe and be well.