OTTAWA — We’re eight months into pandemic restrictions and people are getting fed up, especially in rural areas where very few people are getting sick.
Social gatherings and church services were cancelled for months. Restaurants and other services were shuttered. So, Farmers Forum asked Eastern Ontario farmers about their biggest COVID headache. Everyone’s situation is different. Filling on-farm jobs is an ongoing challenge for local farms. COVID restrictions made things worse.
“Finding enough employees. I advertised everywhere: Kijiji, Facebook, job zones. Got applications from Mexico and Dubai, not Canada. Wouldn’t mind a foreign worker, but couldn’t bring one in. If someone from around here did apply, they didn’t show for an interview. Eventually found one person after going through hundreds. That’s the biggest frustration. Everyone’s getting government money so nobody’s wanting to work.”
North Stormont, Ont.
“Keeping things interesting on the farm for the kids. I really feel sorry for the youth. There are no activities, no sports. At school one-third of the kids are online and only 1/3 of the students are in class at a time. They don’t see their friends.”
“The healthcare we are not getting is the biggest issue. I fell off a ladder in the summer and landed on a piece of steel and punctured my back. I asked for an X-Ray and I can’t get one. It (pain) comes and goes. If I get out of my truck wrong, I can hardly walk.”
“It is becoming more difficult to get parts. That’s mainly because they have to come across the border. You’re looking at another day or two to get parts. Tractor tires are not as readily available. The other big one is farm labour. We’re short labour here. It’s hard to get people to come in and get dirty when you can get COVID (payments). Labour was an issue before COVID but has been exacerbated by COVID.”
“The whole mask thing for people coming into the shop, that’s kind of a drawback. People don’t want to wear one, so we have to go outside and meet them. And having to watch who enters the shop.”