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New Brunswick farmers warn of consequences of ban on foreign workers

Reference: CTV News

FREDERICTON -- A coalition of agriculture groups say New Brunswick's ban on temporary foreign workers is putting an already strained food system on the verge of collapse.

The National Farmers Union in New Brunswick along with the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick and a group called Really Local Harvest say the province already relies heavily on food from outside New Brunswick.

They say the ban on the temporary foreign workers may be the difference between make or break for many farms, which have been forced to reduce planting.

"I will be scaling back production by eliminating low margin and high labour crops," Ken Coates, owner of Nature's Route Farm, wrote in a letter to Premier Blaine Higgs.

Higgs imposed the ban on the temporary foreign workers last month as part of border restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The province has had just 120 cases of COVID-19 and all have recovered. The government has begun easing many restrictions and is moving to the next phase of reopening on Friday.

On Wednesday, Higgs said he'll make a decision within days to ensure farmers and fish processors are able to fill their need for workers.

"I said I wouldn't let them go without employees and I meant that -- I won't," Higgs said.

"If we don't fill the roster in the next few days of what's needed right now, then there will be decisions made to ensure that we can meet the needs," he said... Read More