Fertilizer Canada is urging the federal government to designate the entire fertilizer supply chain as an essential service and provide relief to workers who face expiring training certificates. The government must ensure that policies will protect industry workers from any sort of supply chain disruption and to ensure continued movement of products throughout the supply chain.
The United States’ Department of Homeland Security, in collaboration with the Secretary of Agriculture, designated significant portions of US fertilizer supply chain as “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.” This guidance is intended to be used by US federal, state, and local governments to make decisions about what classes of workers may be excluded from the shelter in place requirements. It is an acknowledgment that the workers in this supply chain are necessary to the country’s recovery from COVID-19.
Garth Whyte, President & CEO of Fertilizer Canada, said:
“The next two months are critical, both for the Canadian response to the COVID-19 pandemic but also to our farmer customers who are already beginning preparations for the spring planting season. The federal government must maintain our national food supply chains and, mirror the actions in the United States of America, draft a list of essential critical infrastructure workers that could be used by federal departments and provincial and territorial governments to make decisions.”
Fertilizer Canada is recommending the list include the entire Canadian fertilizer supply chain, from manufacturing in plants, to transportation, to ag-retail locations that allow farmers to receive their goods.
Additionally, in order to maintain continued operations, individuals who are critical to product manufacturing lines and transportation in-person training has been suspended, until a set time after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fertilizer Canada is requesting the government to extend the expiry dates of certifications for workers in our industry possess, where it is safe to do so.
At a time when the situation is rapidly changing, and new policies are being brought in on a continual basis, it is important that governments do not create unintended consequences for the agriculture industry.