Seasonal farm workers coming from foreign countries will be permitted to return to Canada, but they will have to self-isolate for 14 days in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, Immigration and Citizenship Minister Marco Mendocino said Sunday.

“It’s absolutely critical that they are able to continue that work to maintain the food security of all Canadians,” said Mendocino in an interview with Global News’ Mike Le Couteur on Sunday’s episode of The West Block.

“Having said that, it’s also mandatory that they abide by the isolation period, the 14-day isolation period that everybody coming back into the country has to comply with.”

Mendocino’s words come days after a group of temporary foreign workers employed in British Columbia’s agricultural sector tested positive for COVID-19.

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In a previous statement to Global News, B.C. Interior Health said 75 workers were impacted by an outbreak at Bylands Nurseries, including 63 migrant workers and 12 local workers.

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Mendocino said an “enforcement regime” has been put in place with provincial partners to ensure self-isolation rules are followed.

“When they ask for this exemption as part of our overall travel restrictions regime, we understood that they would be fulfilling that part of the responsibility,” he said.

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