Worker travel groups win award

The two organizations that share administrative and air travel responsibilities for the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) have been honoured for their efforts in ensuring temporary foreign workers were able to work on Canadian fruit and vegetable farms in 2020.

The Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Service – commonly known as F.A.R.M.S. – and CanAg Travel Services are the joint winners of the 2020 Niagara Peninsula Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (NPF&VGA) Award of Merit.

The two organizations were heavily involved in the national advocacy initiative that convinced the federal government to exempt temporary foreign workers from the international border closure it announced in March 2020 in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

Once travel resumed, they managed air travel and flight availability in order to physically bring workers to Canada, as well as handling a multitude of other pandemic-related challenges.

“F.A.R.M.S. and CanAg Travel Services have been working hard for the benefit of the Ontario agriculture sector for many years, but they really went above and beyond last year to find solutions to the many barriers presented by the pandemic and ensured that SAWP would be able to continue,” says Curtis Wiley, chair of the NPF&VGA. “This award is in recognition of all of those years of work, but especially for everything that was done this past year to help make the program happen under such incredibly difficult circumstances.”