“Any help to increase the supply of domestic farm workers at the Loose Bay work camp is appreciated. The facility improvements look good, the residents are co-operating and it is altogether a good scene, with a safe and clean place for workers to stay with all of the facilities in place.”
Karla Kozakevich, chair, Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen –
“Fruit trees and vines are an essential component of our economy in the South Okanagan, and we consider our domestic temporary workers a crucial and appreciated resource in maintaining that part of the food supply system. In providing seasonal accommodations at Loose Bay Campground, we can assist our farmers in a meaningful way. This support from the Province will allow us to make improvements that will help keep our agricultural workers safe, comfortable and available for service, not only during the COVID-19 protocols, but for many years into the future.”
VICTORIA – Fresh fruit from the Okanagan and Creston Valley will continue to be on the tables of British Columbians this year, as support for work camp accommodations for seasonal fruit pickers has been extended through the 2021 harvest season.
The B.C. government is investing $652,000 so work camps meet COVID-19 health and safety requirements in Loose Bay (Oliver) and Summerland. These work camps have modified their operations, infrastructure and layout to protect worker, employer and public health, and hired an on-site co-ordinator to conduct and implement COVID-19 safety training and protocols, as well as supporting daily health checks.
“This funding will help provide a safe, secure workforce for the harvest of Okanagan cherries and apples,” said Pinder Dhaliwal, president, BC Fruit Growers’ Association. “The youth workers who come from Quebec and other provinces, including B.C., will be able to camp in a COVID-19 safe environment, and the industry appreciates the provincial contribution to help keep the farm-worker campsites open at the Oliver, Summerland and Creston locations during these times of COVID-19, helping us to ensure the harvest of our amazing B.C. cherries and apples.”
The 2021 extension follows a $422,000 investment as part of the Province’s COVID-19 response in 2020. Last year, there were no COVID-19 cases at any organized work camps. The ongoing efforts are a partnership between the B.C. and local governments, Interior Health and the B.C. Fruit Growers Association, to support the safe harvest of B.C. crops, as well as the province’s agriculture sector, economy and food security.