Photo provided by Unknown Neighbours
Originally published by KAIROS
The Government of Canada has extended the successful KAIROS-run Empowering Temporary Foreign Workers during COVID-19 (ETFW) project until September 30, 2022. The Government of Canada has provided an additional $2,487,165 for the ETFW project to continue to support and assist temporary foreign workers, primarily in the agricultural sector during the pandemic.
Funded by the Government of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program, this project utilizes a community coordinated approach to support workers in the Maritimes and Ontario. Approximately 40,000 temporary foreign workers were served under this project from December 17 to July 31, 2021.
“As the Empowering Temporary Foreign Workers project continues to expand, we welcome and very much appreciate the Government of Canada’s commitment to this project,” says Connie Sorio, Manager of KAIROS’ Migrant Justice Program. “This extended funding will allow KAIROS and our community partners to continue to serve workers and increase capacity to support their health and safety through the pandemic.”
In May 2021, the project expanded to include support services at Toronto Pearson International Airport to welcome, inform, and assist arriving migrant workers within the context of COVID-19. This service provides workers with crucial information on testing, isolation and quarantine requirements, and community supports. The new agreement includes expansion of these services in addition to support for workers departing from Canada.
KAIROS continues to partner with grassroots organizations that provide direct support to migrant workers in the three Maritime provinces and southern Ontario and will expand supports to the Windsor-Essex region. The ETFW project will also establish additional partners in the Maritime provinces and develop new partnerships in the Ottawa Valley to expand services into Eastern Ontario. The extended project will serve an anticipated 10,000 temporary foreign workers, including up to 500 with emergency assistance.
Partners will continue to provide incoming workers with welcome bags that include personal care equipment, language-appropriate resources, and non-perishable food items. Other services are information sessions, webinars, virtual workshops, emergency assistance, and the development of resources to support worker safety. Partners will visit farms and public spaces for outreach and service delivery.
Partner organizations are: Cooper Institute (PEI); Filipino CommUnity of New Brunswick; No One Is Illegal – Halifax/Kjipuktuk; and in Ontario: Durham Region Migrant Worker Solidarity Program at ACDR, Center for Migrant Worker Solidarity (Simcoe), Migrant Rights Center Canada, Migrant Worker Community Program(Leamington), Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, Niagara Community Partners, Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, and Unknown Neighbours/El Sembrador (Simcoe County, Barrie and Bradford).
About KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives:
KAIROS is a social justice organization that includes ten Canadian churches and religious organizations. We are Indigenous, settlers and newcomers in Canada working with people of faith or conscience all over the world for ecological justice and human rights. We deliberate on issues of common concern, advocate for social change and join with people of faith and goodwill in action for social transformation. Learn more: KAIROS Canada website.
Sandy Falcon graduated from Lakehead University in May of 2022 with a Master of Arts in Social Justice Studies.