Ontario investigating 17 temp agencies after virus outbreaks on farms

"We stand firm against exploitation in our province"

Reading Time: < 1 minute Toronto/Winnipeg | Reuters — Ontario is investigating 17 temporary recruitment agencies, the province’s labour ministry said, after health officials warned that agencies that move workers from farm to farm could be contributing to COVID-19 outbreaks. Canadian farms rely on some 60,000 people who come to Canada on temporary work permits every year, typically living and […] Read more

TFW program to be overhauled after COVID-19 outbreaks on farms

"The piece that's missing is enforcement"

Reading Time: 2 minutes Winnipeg | Reuters — Canada is overhauling its temporary foreign worker program, a government spokeswoman said on Friday, after coronavirus outbreaks on Ontario farms sickened hundreds and led Mexico to demand assurances of proper safeguards. As part of the review, surprise inspections of working and living conditions on farms will immediately increase, Ashley Michnowski, communications […] Read more

Grain exports flow fast as pandemic lockdowns clear rail capacity

Traffic accelerates on lower coal, crude volumes

Reading Time: 2 minutes Winnipeg | Reuters — Canadian grain exporters are boosting sales in a slumping global economy, as demand for commodities like oil weakens and frees up railway space. Brisk crop movement in a country that relies heavily on rail is a bright spot during pandemic lockdowns, which have hammered most industries. “We’ve had an almost unlimited […] Read more

As meat plant infections rise, Canada lets packers choose when to close

Beef plants at heart of Alberta's largest COVID-19 community outbreaks

Reading Time: 3 minutes Winnipeg | Reuters — In Cargill’s High River, Alta. plant, supplier of more than one-third of Canada’s beef, 391 workers were sick with COVID-19 when the company suspended operations, according to provincial health officials. But Maple Leaf Foods decided to idle a poultry plant for eight days, in Brampton, Ont., after just three workers were […] Read more

Canada sees no beef shortage, but prices may rise due to coronavirus

JBS plant at Brooks dials back to one shift

Reading Time: 2 minutes Ottawa/Winnipeg | Reuters –– The Canadian government is not expecting a beef shortage despite the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in certain meat-packing plants, though prices may rise, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday. Trudeau added that beef producers are placing a priority on supplying the Canadian market before exporting products. Canada, one of […] Read more


‘Elbow to elbow:’ North America’s meat plant workers fall ill, walk off jobs

Supply chains struggling to keep pace with surging demand

Reading Time: 4 minutes Chicago/Winnipeg | Reuters — At a Wayne Farms chicken processing plant in Alabama, workers recently had to pay the company 10 U.S. cents a day to buy masks to protect themselves from the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to a meat inspector. In Colorado, nearly a third of the workers at a JBS USA beef plant stayed […] Read more

Canadian, U.S. farms face crop losses on foreign worker delays

Reading Time: 2 minutes Winnipeg/Chicago | Reuters — Mandatory coronavirus quarantines of seasonal foreign workers in Canada could hurt that country’s fruit and vegetable output this year, and travel problems related to the pandemic could also leave U.S. farmers with fewer workers than usual. Foreign labour is critical to farm production in both countries, where domestic workers shun the […] Read more

Alberta’s Harmony Beef halts slaughter on positive COVID-19 test

CFIA pulls inspectors after plant employee tests positive

Reading Time: 2 minutes Ottawa/Winnipeg | Reuters — Harmony Beef, an Alberta packing plant, halted cattle slaughter on Friday after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) kept some inspectors from work, due to a positive test for COVID-19 by a Harmony worker, the company said. The partial closure follows a positive COVID-19 test by a worker at U.S. chicken […] Read more


Farm suppliers race COVID-19 spread for planting season

Reading Time: 2 minutes Winnipeg/Chicago | Reuters — North America’s biggest farm suppliers are accelerating shipments of fertilizer, seeds and agricultural chemicals to crop-growing regions in an unprecedented race against the coronavirus that threatens to disrupt planting season. The timing could not be worse for farmers preparing to plant crops. Disruptions in deliveries of fertilizer, seeds or chemicals could […] Read more

North America’s millers, bakers scramble to satisfy bread binge

Reading Time: 2 minutes Chicago/Winnipeg | Reuters — North American flour mills and bakeries are rushing to boost production as the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus leads to consumer stockpiling of staples such as bread and pasta. The virus’ spread prompted orders to stay at home in some U.S. states, including New York, California and Illinois last week, following […] Read more