Considering the existing context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federation UPA O-L wishes to regularly inform members-producers about measures adopted and recent news that may impact them. This webpage is updated frequently.
Services to members
- Services to producers are maintained.
- The Federation’s doors in St-Eustache are closed until April 13th. Reopening will occur as the situation evolves.
If you have documents to give us, please contact your specialist.
- The services are available remotely (Accounting and Taxation; Employment Center; Democratic Life), by phone or e-mail. Producers are invited to communicate, preferably via e-mail, for follow-up on their files with the different services.
- You may also contact anyone directly at 450 472-0440.
March 23: Essential services
Agriculture activity, as well as other food producing related activities is considered an essential service. After Quebec has announced that all non-essential economic activity in the province is shut down, here is the list of essential activities.
I am particularly sensitive to the stress that the situation can cause to all producers in our region. A special thought for vegetable and fruit producers and other large employers of foreign workers who are on a tightrope when Canadian borders are closed. I am also concerned for our maple syrup producers who are hit hard by government directives ordering the closure of sugar shacks. I think of you all.
However, I want to remind you that you are not alone, that the UPA is there to defend your interests and continue to offer you the best services under the circumstances. Since the beginning of the crisis, the Federation’s general manager and her team have taken a series of measures to protect the health of employees and members.
The challenges associated with the pandemic in the agricultural sector go beyond regional federations and are currently national. Political positions and demands are communicated by the UPA, which initiates multiple actions in the case of temporary foreign workers.
|COVID-19 : UPA Web page|
The UPA Outaouais-Laurentides Federation is on the lookout for all these developments and has created its own COVID-19 section on its website. The current section becomes a privileged place to learn about important developments for producers in our region. I therefore strongly invite producers and stakeholders who wish to learn more about this subject to regularly visit the Federation’s website, which is continuously updated.
I invite directors to inform their network of this source of information. I also encourage them to invite producers and their partners to subscribe to the newsletter, which will be published as needed during this crisis. Registering to the Fédération infoletter is easy : click on the ″I Register″ button on the Federation homepage. Pass the word!
Social distancing guidelines do not prevent us from staying in touch. Thank you for staying together, by staying connected to your organization!
Stéphane Alary, President, Fédération UPA Outaouais-Laurentides
Regional Director’s Message
The Federation is here for you!
The UPA was declared an essential service by the provincial government
Since the beginning of the crisis, the political and economic issues concerning COVID-19 have linked us all more than ever with the Confederation in collaboration with the government and the various ministries in order to assert our positions nationally. The communications of the Federation stem from all the actions coming from the Confederation in real time.
The Outaouais-Laurentides Regional Federation has communicated validated and truthful information in order to keep you well informed. Throughout the past few days, our discussions with you, producers, have clearly demonstrated our need to inform each other of the realities which you are facing.
This is why our team of union agents, the Agricultural Employment Center (CEA), and the Income Tax and Accounting Services are just a phone call away to continue working with you. Moreover, accountants and agri-economists are in support mode to assist you with the government measures put in place.
In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, the Federation considers that the representation of producers’ interests is more important than ever. This is why our teams continue to maintain services for producers. Social distancing guidelines do not prevent us from staying in touch. « Thank you for staying together, by staying connected to your organization », said President Stéphane Alary.
The Federation and its entire team are mobilizing to offer you the best possible support during this crisis.
You can already consult the list of essential commercial services and activities on the Québec.ca/ coronavirus website. The situation will be reassessed daily. On this list, you will find, among others:
- Grocery stores and other food retailers
- Stores not in a mall (grocery services, etc.)
- Businesses supplying agricultural operations (machinery, fertilizer, etc.)
- Production of food goods (agricultural businesses, food processing, beverage, slaughterhouses, vegetable production, etc.)
- Production of necessary inputs for essential sectors
- Food inspection
- Supply and distribution of food, groceries and convenience stores
In solidarity, with all my attention,
Nathalie Messias, Regional Director
Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW)
The announcement of the closing of the Canadian border to foreign travellers was a major concern for many producers that are expecting the imminent arrival of foreign workers.
A few hours after the press conference was held on march 18 by the UPA (L’Union des producteurs agricoles), in collaboration with the Association des producteurs maraîchers du Québec (Quebec Vegetable Producers Association), the Federal Government announced its commitment to allow foreign workers to enter the country.
Although the government has demonstrated this openness, there are still a lot of strings to tie to make their arrival a reality. For the moment, no worker can arrive, the submitted plan is being analyzed (Public Health). As the pandemic is global, there are also ongoing negotiations with other countries. All stakeholders are actively working to find solutions.
The Outaouais-Laurentides region is one of the most affected in Quebec, due to the significant presence of vegetable production in this territory.
2,500* TFWs hired annually in O-L, including nearly 2000 in the Lower Laurentides
1,500* TFWs expected this year, from April 1st to September 30th, mostly in the Lower Laurentides
At the Outaouais-Laurentides Employment Center (CEA), the following actions undertaken are:
- The CEA is preparing to receive applications from local workers (local labour) who want to work in agriculture.
- Various steps are also under way to facilitate the extension and flexibility of contracts for foreign workers already on site.
Union activities and other pertinent information
- All Annual General Meetings (AGM) in March are cancelled
- Starting on March 18, all regular or specialized auctions are occurring without the presence of the public, including producers. Details here
March 31, 2020
- INSPQ issues Preventative measures
The Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) has published a series of preventative measures affecting our sector that should be put in place. Many other measures can be found on the INSPQ website (https://www.inspq.qc.ca/).
Grocery stores and other essential stores
The following resource (currently in French only) lists the preventative measures to be followed by food retail employers and workers (grocery stores and essential stores) to protect the health and safety of employees and customers. These measures apply in cases where sustained community transmission has been confirmed by public health authorities.
Click here to view the document
Workers on produce and livestock farms
The following resource (currently in French only) lists the preventative measures to be followed by farm employees and workers on produce and livestock farms to protect the health and safety of employees and people who visit these workplaces. These measures apply in cases where sustained community transmission has been confirmed by public health authorities.
Click here to view the document
The following resource (currently in French only) lists the interim recommended measures pertaining to the food processing industry. These COVID-19 preventative measures in the workplace will be adapted according to the epidemiological status of each region. To protect the health and safety of employees and people who visit these workplaces, all employers and workers are asked to follow the instructions directed at employees.
Click here to view the document
Veterinary care workers
The following resource (currently in French only) lists the preventative measures to be followed by veterinary employers and workers to protect the health and safety of employees and people who visit these workplaces. These measures apply in cases where sustained community transmission has been confirmed by public health authorities.
Click here to view the document
- March 17: Table of government aid. See COVID-19 section on Agricarrières website for information and updates. Detailed information about the various aid measures is available here.
- The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council has created a web page to share updated information, recommendations, advice on employee management, tools (posters, policies) and links towards authorities. That information aims at helping producers to react and limit the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on farm businesses.
- La Financière agricole is maintaining services to producers and offers new support measures.
- MAPAQ : Questions & Answers
- The CNESST has published a list of questions and answers about the coronavirus and health and safety in the workplace.
- The presence of computer viruses is likely to be more frequent during a crisis. It is therefore recommended to avoid unrecognized sites when looking for information on COVID-19. Official sites for Quebec and Canada are more appropriate: Canadian Government site; Quebec Government Site.
- Écoute agricole des Laurentides (ÉAL) is maintaining its rural social worker service. On the Facebook page of ÉAL: information clips to help producers cope with the stress created by the situation.
News from the UPA (confederation)
|Read the Trait d’Union of March 31 (UPA Newsletter) in French|
March 30, 2020: The UPA has prepared a document explaining the various aid measures for farmers offered by the Federal and Provincial Governments for farmers. You can access the document in French by clicking here.
March 26, 2020: UPA President, Marcel Groleau, takes stock of the situation on March 26, 2020 by sending a letter to producers and with a video clip. To view, click on the image below.
Q. Is there a list of Essential services in English?
A. The COVID-19 Webpage of the Quebec Government is fully bilingual and the list is available on it. You can click here to access the webpage
Q. Can ornamental horticultural producers maintain their operations? If yes, under what conditions / measures?
A. A number of talks and advocacy efforts on behalf of greenhouse growers have been initiated by Québec Vert in collaboration with the Producteurs en serre du Québec and the Association québécoise des producteurs en pépinière. These have been successful in persuading the government to declare ornamental horticulture activities an essential service. Minister Lamontagne made an announcement to this effect on March 30.
To read the Québec Vert announcement,click here.
Q. My enterprise is awaiting an inspection to obtain organic certification. What’s going to happen?
A. Regarding inspections carried out by certification organizations (COs), the Quality Assessment Accreditation Committee (CAEQ) asked COs to follow the directives and recommendations of the Government of Quebec and not to put their staff, their customers, or the population at risk. Alternative measures have been implemented, in particular and among others, when possible, postponing site inspections for up to 3 months, setting up remote visits and teleworking for documentary assessments. The certifiers must document the risk assessment and comply with their procedure in force.
Q. Agriculture is considered a priority service. Am I entitled to daycare for my children?
A. Agriculture is not on the list of essential services eligible for daycare. However, a farmer who carries out his business personally or through a partnership (SENC) can be entitled to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit from the federal government if he/she meets the following conditions:
• He/she must have had at least $ 5,000 in business income in the past 12 months or in 2019;
• He/she must have stopped performing his/her work for his/her account for Covid-19 reasons for at least 14 consecutive days included in the 4-week period for which he/she is requesting the $ 2,000;
• He/she must have no income for these 14 consecutive days.
Q. Is the CPTAQ open or closed?
R. Due to the exceptional circumstances as well as government measures put in place, the CPTAQ has decided to suspend all of its hearings. However, the Commission continues its work; it always receives and processes requests. The Lan Use Planning Advisor at the Federation still makes sure to defend the interests of producers and farmland.