Temporary farm workers housing

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Temporary Farm Worker Housing is temporary housing to assist farmers through times of intense labour requirements, such as thinning and harvesting. As such, this form of housing is expected to be minimal and communal in nature. In accordance with policy advice from the Ministry of Agriculture, the units must be:

  • appropriate with the level of agricultural help required on a seasonal basis;
  • communal living space; and
  • have shared kitchen facilities.

An application must comply with the criteria (below), and be supported by documentation (e.g. SAWP federal contracts or T4s from the previous year). If this is not available, we  will forward the SAWP request to the ALC for a final determination.

Farm Help Permit

Should a farmer require temporary accommodation to house seasonal workers, a Farm Help Permit application is submitted to the City of Kelowna. If the number of workers is 1 to 9, the permit may be issued by the Director of Subdivision, Agriculture & Environment Services. If the dwelling is for more than 10 workers, the permit will be forwarded to Council for their review and authorization to issue the permit.

As part of a Farm Help Permit, a Section 219 Restrictive Covenant is required to be registered on the title of the property, restricting the use of the dwelling for seasonal farm workers only, and requires that the dwelling be removed once the need for seasonal workers no longer exists.

The dwelling must adhere to provincial guidelines for seasonal workers and to the BC Building Code.

Temporary Farm Worker Housing (TFWH) Criteria

  1. The accommodation style should be provided as ‘bunkhouse’ which is very minimalist in nature.
  2. The housing must comply with the Guidelines for the Provision of Seasonal Housing for Migrant Farm Workers in BC, as they may change from time to time.
  3. New TFWH should be in an existing building, or a mobile home (e.g. Britco or Atco camp style). Housing should be constructed or manufactured in a manner that makes it easily movable from one location to another for residential use or offsite if the housing is no longer required.
  4. Housing is to be provided on a temporary foundation (no concrete footings) and no basement is permitted.
  5. Housing must be located on a declared home plate. A home plate must be contained within a contiguous area no greater than 3,600 m2 including those portions of existing primary residences and their associated ancillary farm residential structures to be located within 60 metres from a property line. Consideration will be given where a hardship (e.g. topography or agricultural viability) can be demonstrated.
  6. Total useable floor area should be in the range of 7.44 m2 and 10 m2 per person maximum. Total usable area does not include washrooms, laundry rooms, mechanical rooms, or storage rooms.
  7. Sleeping areas must be a minimum of 8.5 m3 per person.


Federal Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program* (SAWP)

The following recommendations are consistent with the Federal Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program* (SAWP):

  1. One washbasin for every seven occupants.
  2. One shower for every seven occupants.
  3. One toilet facility for every seven occupants.
  4. At least one laundering machine in good working order for every fifteen bunks or the equivalent.
  5. One unit stove or hot plate (min. 2 burners) for every four workers.
  6. One refrigerator unit for every six workers.

*Be aware that SAWP requirements change from time to time. Contact the BC Agriculture Council for the most up to date requirements for SAWP Program housing.