NEW February 16, 2021

Message Regarding the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Good day,

Further to our previous message, I am writing to provide more information on the new border measures and more stringent quarantine requirements that were the subject of the announcement on February 12, 2021.

As indicated previously, as of February 22, 2021, all air travelers, including temporary foreign workers (TFW), will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test upon arrival in Canada while at the airport, and again at the 10-day mark of their 14-day quarantine period.  Before leaving the airport, travelers will be provided with a COVID-19 test kit and instructions for taking their test later during their mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

The requirement for travelers to quarantine in a government-approved accommodation while they wait for the results of their arrival COVID-19 test is deferred until March 14, 2021, for certain temporary foreign workers, including those with work visas in the agriculture, agri-food, and fish and seafood sectors, in the following occupations:

  • 0821 – Managers in agriculture
  • 0822 – Managers in horticulture
  • 8252 – Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • 8255 – Contractors and supervisors, landscaping, grounds maintenance and horticulture services
  • 8431 – General farm workers
  • 8432 – Nursery and greenhouse workers
  • 8611 – Harvesting labourers
  • 6331 – Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers – retail And wholesale
  • 9461 – Process control and machine operators, food, beverage and associated products processing
  • 9462 – Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers
  • 9463 – Fish and seafood plant workers
  • 9617 – Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing
  • 9618 – Labourers In fish and seafood processing

The deferral of the 3-night hotel requirement for TFWs is only a temporary measure to allow for the development of a tailored solution to accommodate the anticipated volume of foreign workers arriving in the coming weeks and that the costs of these measures are not borne by workers or employers. The deferral is also to ensure these workers can be safely quarantined and supported throughout the process. Discussions will be taking place with the provinces and territories in the coming days to put in place the necessary health measures.

In the interim, TFWs entering the country will proceed to their usual place of quarantine provided by their employer under existing quarantine rules.

Thank you,

Philippe Massé, Director General, Temporary Foreign Worker Program

NEW February 12, 2021

Entry for TFWs into Canada Process Overview: 2021 New COVID-19 Measures Pre-departure & Upon Arrival

In 2021 there are several new COVID-19 measures that TFWP Ag Stream and SAWP workers need to know and comply with when incoming to Canada. Employers should review these new requirements and assess how much support their TFWs will need in order to avoid issues with the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). As of early February 2021, these measures are still evolving so please check the different government links provided in this document for the latest information: 

Information is changing rapidly and we are working with various agencies to understand and communicate the latest information. 

Click here for an article by Western Producer (Feb12) highlighting that Foreign workers to lose travel exemptions in March’

NEW January 6, 2021

Message for Partners and Stakeholders of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program Regarding New Requirements for Entry into Canada

As you may know, on December 31, 2020, in order to help prevent further introduction and transmission of COVID-19 and new variants of the virus into Canada, the Government of Canada new mandatory requirements for all air travellers to Canada, including temporary foreign workers.

These measures, which come into force on January 7, 2021 (00:00 EST), outline the following:

  • Travellers must provide a negative laboratory test result for COVID-19 conducted within 72 hours of departure to Canada. The test must be performed by an accredited lab in the source country using one of two types of COVID-19 tests – either a molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) test.
  • Airlines will be verifying the negative tests, so passengers must retain copies of test results and must present them prior to boarding.

These measures are in addition to the existing requirements, such as providing a quarantine plan and mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival to Canada, among others.  There are currently no exemptions for temporary foreign workers.

Additional information, including questions and answers, is also available online.

On January 6, 2021, the Government announced additional information regarding the requirements.  Specifically, there are time-limited flexibilities for travellers departing from some countries in recognition of the need for testing systems to adjust. Travellers departing from Saint Pierre and Miquelon are exempt from the new requirements until January 14, 2021, and travellers departing from Haiti are exempt until January 21, 2021.  That being said, these travellers are strongly encouraged to get a COVID-19 test once they arrive in Canada. In addition, travellers departing from Mexico and Jamaica, as well as some Caribbean, Central American and South America countries can use tests conducted within 96 hours of departure (instead of 72 hours) until 00:01 EST on January 14, 2021. A full list of countries can be found here.

We acknowledge the implications that these new requirements have for temporary foreign workers and their employers.  Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is working closely with departments across the federal government to ensure the continued safe and timely entry of temporary foreign workers into Canada in order to maintain the strength of Canada’s food supply chain. As part of this, we are undertaking engagement with key stakeholders and government partners.

In addition, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) is leading efforts to collect information on testing availability and capacity in key source countries. This information is being updated regularly and posted to the  website under the health tab per country of interest.

We will continue to work with you to keep the lines of communications open as this new measure is implemented.

Thank you,

Jonathan Wallace

Executive Director

Temporary Foreign Workers

Employment and Social Development Canada

NEW October 27, 2020

TFW Program Housing Consultation

On October 27, 2020, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced the launch of consultations on proposed minimum requirements for employer-provided accommodations for the TFW Program.

These consultations have two components:

1)     Survey of housing currently provided to TFWsThe Government of Canada is undertaking an employer survey of temporary foreign worker accommodation arrangements currently used in the primary agriculture sector. Survey results will provide an understanding of current housing stock and will inform the development of new proposed federal accommodations requirements and how they would be implemented. Deadline to complete:  Wednesday, November 18, 2020. Click here to complete the survey

2)     Feedback on proposed minimum requirements for accommodations provided to TFWs. We are soliciting input from employers on proposed minimum requirements that would apply to the accommodations in which TFWs are housed.  To support you in sharing your views, please review the following documents:

We invite you to submit any written feedback by Tuesday, December 22, 2020 to  You are also encouraged to circulate these documents to interested parties who may want to participate in this consultation process.

Information about this consultation is publicly available on the Consulting with Canadians website:

We look forward to hearing from you on this important initiative.


The Temporary Foreign Worker Program, Employment and Social Development Canada