Emergency On-Farm Support Fund

The Emergency On-Farm Support Fund provides funding to support protections for domestic and temporary foreign workers and address COVID-19 outbreaks on farms.

Program Announcement

The Application Window for the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund is now closed.

Don’t miss an announcement or update, subscribe to the Growing Today newsletter and follow us on social media:

Program Overview

The program, administered to British Columbia- based farms, assists agricultural producers with some of the incremental costs for improving the health and safety of farm workers and limiting the spread of COVID-19 in agricultural operationsThe program will provide up to $100,000 per recipient in non-repayable, cost-shared funding. Applications must include at least $5,000 in total eligible costs to be considered for the program. 

A gloved hand pulling some organic, home-grown carrots. Captured and processed in 16-bit Adobe RGB color space.

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants are primary agricultural producers whose operations are based in British Columbia and meet the following criteria: 

  • be located in British Columbia;  
  • be one of the following: Sole proprietorPartnershipCorporation, Cooperative, Communal organizationTrustBand farm;   
  • be an agricultural producer (farm, ranch, greenhouse, fruit grower etc.);  
  • be producing an agricultural product for sale;   
  • have at least two (2) full-time equivalent farm workers; and,  
  • have been in operation for at least two years 

NoteAquaculture production is not eligible under this program.  

Project Funding Amounts

Applications must include at least $5,000 in total eligible project costs to be considered. The maximum amount of funding that the program can provide to recipients is $100,000.  

Program funding is provided based on a 50/50 cost share ratio, with businesses that are majority-owned (greater than 50%) by women, youth (40 years and under), indigenous persons, people with disabilities and / or visible minorities being eligible for a 60/40 cost-share ratio. 

Please refer to the program guide for further information on project funding amounts. 


Program Guide

Download the Program Guide for a detailed breakdown of eligible activities and costs. 

Eligible Activities

All activities must directly improve worker health and safety for BC-based farming operations. 

Eligible activities can be retroactive to March 15, 2020 and must be completed and fully paid for by February 19, 2021. Eligible activities include: 

  • Workspace adjustments 
  • On-Farm Housing Enhancements 
  • Transportation 
  • Disposable PPE 
  • Non-Disposable PPE
  • Training and Interpretation 

For a detailed breakdown of what activities are eligible under these categories please refer to the program guide. 


Thank you for your interest in applying to the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund.
The IAF application window for this program closed as of 4:30pm PST on November 17, 2020. Please note that any incomplete applications that have been submitted will not be considered for funding.
greenhouse peppers

Application Process and Timeline

Complete applications must be submitted through IAF’s online portal on or before November 17, 2020 at 16:30. The application process involves: 

  • Registering the organization on IAF’s online portal   
  • Determining the organization’s eligibility to apply for program funding
  • Completing an online application form with details about the project 
  • Downloading and completing aapplication form – in Adobe PDF format  and uploading it to the online portal 
  • Submitting the application for consideration prior to 16:30 on November 172020. 


How big does my farm have to be for it to qualify for funding?

There are no requirements for annual revenue. Farms need to have at least 2 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers to qualify.

I am just starting my farm. Can I apply for funding?

No. This program is intended to help existing farms modify the working and living conditions for their employees. Start-ups are not eligible; farms should have at least two years of full operations and a CRA payroll number to qualify.

How are you assessing whether or not I’ve had a COVID-19 outbreak on my farm?

For the purposes of the Program, an outbreak means that one or more of your employees have tested positive for COVID-19. You need to attest to this in the application form

My farm received funding through another COVID-19 government support program. Am I able to access funding under this program as well?

While previous funding does not preclude you from applying for this program, priority will be given to farms that have not received COVID-19 government funding for their operations to date. Activities that have already been supported through another program are not eligible for further support under this program.

What is the definition of a Full Time Equivalent (FTE)?

For the purposes of this program, one (1) Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employee is considered to be the equivalent of 1,500 hours of farm work per year. Two (2) workers that each work approximately 750 hours/year would be considered one (1) FTE. This includes farm workers hired through a subcontractor.

Does an owner who works full time on the farm qualify as an FTE?

Yes. An owner qualifies as an FTE if they work full-time on the farm (paid or unpaid). 

I have outdated buildings on my farm that I would like to renovate for farm workers to accommodate physical distancing requirements and/or isolation requirements if they become ill. Can I apply to this program to cover some of those costs?

Yes, this would be an eligible expense. All modifications to on-farm housing needs to directly improve worker health and safety.

Can I purchase new/automated equipment for my farm that will help my workers physical distance? (e.g. a robotic milking machine, an optical fruit sorter etc.)

Funding will be prioritized for projects that directly improve the health and safety of workers. New processing or production equipment is not a priority under this program. Including these expenses in your application may impact the priority rating of your project and potentially decrease your chance of receiving funding.

Can I purchase a vehicle (van, truck etc.) with program funding?

No, vehicle acquisition is not permitted under the program. If additional transportation (beyond normal operating requirements) was required due to COVID-19, you may apply for funding to cover the lease period of March 15, 2020 to February 19, 2021. Vehicle expenses such as fuel and insurance are not eligible costs.

What types of costs qualify as “adjustments to transportation”?

Installation of plexiglass barriers between seats or rows of seats; removal of rows of seating to ensure physical distancing (e.g. in a cargo van); installation of hand sanitizer dispensers in the vehicle etc.

Should I include GST and PST on my invoices for (retroactive) costs in my application?

Yes. You can list the total amount paid for items, including taxes. If your application is successful and you receive reimbursement for costs, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are in compliance with provincial and federal tax reporting requirements.

The invoices for my project expenses are in a currency other than Canadian Dollar. How do I report these costs?

You must report all project expenditures in CAD. If any of your invoices are in another currency, please use the Bank of Canada exchange rate for the date that corresponds to the date of purchase.

I need more space to enter retroactive costs (receipts) in Section 3 of the application form.

If you require additional space for entering receipts, please email  eofsf@iafbc.ca and request an ‘Additional Receipt Summary Page’. 

Have a Question?

Our team is here to support you, contact us today!