(TFW) Temporary foreign worker housing inspections
Temporary foreign worker (TFW) housing inspections
The Okanagan is the hub of wine making and fruit growing in BC. We have well over 700 vineyards, over 160 wineries, and over 800 orchards. Each year the Okanagan requires more and more workers for orchards, vineyards, ranches and nurseries that cultivate organic and conventional crops for local and global consumption. It is estimated that some 1,500 temporary foreign workers make the Okanagan their home for eight months of the year in jobs that would otherwise go unfilled.
Recently we have seen initiatives to improve conditions for temporary foreign workers (TFW). In regards to their housing, we have seen efforts towards improving access to safe, good quality housing.
In mid-September 2015, Employment & Social Development Canada (ESDC) began enforcing a program requirement that all Temporary foreign worker (TFW) housing inspections be completed by a certified inspector. Here in BC, we are fortunate to have a professional pool of licensed home inspectors to help.
The BC Agriculture Council (BCAC) and the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors (BC) agreed to partner and to provide inspections to TFW housing providers. Authorized inspectors will inspect accommodations to increase public trust. Housing guidelines for seasonal workers have been updated to bring the official standards to a higher level. By incorporating the best of the standards used in other jurisdictions, the BC TFW housing inspection process will be one of the most comprehensive in Canada for seasonal agriculture worker housing.
Pre-arrival housing inspections are in everyone’s best interest to safeguard housing conditions for temporary foreign workers. There is no doubt that there are close links between adequate housing and health. Adequate housing provides suitable space and protection from the weather. In addition, adequate housing offers heat and light, safe drinking water, sanitation, cooking facilities, means of food storage, refuse disposal, sanitation and washing facilities.