Since Mexico declared a state of emergency on March 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been ground zero to negotiate flights of seasonal agricultural workers to Canada. A chartered flight from Mexico City to Toronto international airport on April 9 was confirmed by Ken Forth, president of Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (FARMS).
“Multiple planes are planned for the days ahead,” says Forth.
Chartered flights have been arriving regularly from Jamaica to Toronto, to the point that “we’re almost caught up.”
Forth explains that dialogue is ongoing with eastern Caribbean countries such as Trinidad and Barbados. The hope is that once those governments see successful movement of workers to Canada, that they will “have a change of heart” and allow their citizens to come. About 2,000 workers could potentially come from this region.
“Coming to rural Ontario is about as safe a place to be,” says Forth.
Liaison with Guatemala continues, says Forth, with the untangling of visa paperwork. A flight from Guatemala is in future plans. Excess capacity within airlines has made it easier to charter flights at not much greater cost than is usual for FARMS.