Temporary Foreign Workers Exempt From Federal Quarantine

The Canadian Quarantine Act provides exemptions from quarantine upon arrival in Canada for temporary foreign workers who are deemed by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada to provide an essential service. It is the responsibility of the host company to verify that the temporary foreign workers it employs meet the exemption criteria. Workers may only be exempt from quarantine if they have no symptoms upon arrival. Despite this exemption, companies and the ETFWs they bring in as employees, subcontractors, or clients must still comply with provincial health measures. Although ETFWs are exempt from federal quarantine, they must still minimize their contact with others for their safety and the safety of their coworkers.

  • ​Since they are not placed in preventive isolation, unknowingly infected ETFWs could transmit SARS-CoV-2 to anyone they come into contact with. To prevent this, ETFWs must avoid all social contact during the first 14 days of each stay in Canada. This means that:
    • ETFWs must have their own hotel room (with meals brought to their room) or stay in individual housing;
    • They may only leave their room or housing to carry out the work expected by the host company;
    • They may only have contact with their work supervisors, and contact must be limited to what is strictly necessary for the job with the host company.
  • ETFWs generally work in specialized fields and travel alone or in small groups. The length and frequency of their trips varies.

To improve legibility, the acronym ETFW has been used to refer to temporary foreign workers who are exempt from the federal quarantine. These workers are different from temporary foreign workers (TFWs) who are not exempt from quarantine. For more information on recommendations for TFWs, see: Travailleurs étrangers temporaires soumis à l’isolement préventif (quarantaine) (in French only).

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