Farm groups oppose new foreign worker restrictions in New Brunswick

FREDERICTON — Farm groups in New Brunswick say a ban on new temporary foreign workers couldn’t have come at a worse time, and will have a major impact on food production in the province.

Premier Blaine Higgs imposed the restriction on Tuesday, saying provincial borders need to remain closed with so many serious outbreaks of COVID-19 in surrounding jurisdictions.

He said the move does not affect the status of about 1,500 temporary foreign workers currently in the province.

A number of farm groups are demanding the decision be reversed so they can keep promises to workers that have been assured employment.

Rebeka Frazer Chiasson, president of the National Farmers Union in New Brunswick says the skilled labour is not easily replaced and many farmers will reduce their risk by limiting the amount they plant.

Agriculture Minister Ross Wetmore says the jobs can be filled by students or people who are temporarily unemployed, but Frazer Chiasson says those people could be called back to their regular jobs at any time.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 29, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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