The federal government has announced a three year Agri-Food Immigration pilot to open 2,750 immigration spots per year for agriculture workers.
The goal is to fill hundreds of job vacancies in the meat processing, mushroom and other agriculture sectors, Ahmed Hussen, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, said July 11.
“One of the ways to deal with that challenge is immigration to deal with labour market shortages,” said the minister.
This program offers individuals a path toward permanent residency in Canada and potential citizenship.
The agriculture sector has struggled for more than a decade to find enough workers across most parts of the industry. Many accepted jobs in Canada as temporary foreign workers but the need is for permanent employees.
“There is nothing temporary about our need and our jobs,” said Marie-France MacKinnon of the Canadian Meat Council.
Temporary foreign workers may apply under this pilot in early 2020. A maximum of 2,750 principal applicants, plus family members, will be accepted for processing in any given year. This represents about 16,500 possible new permanent residents over the duration of the pilot.
Employers in the agri-food sector who intend to be part of the pilot will be eligible for a two-year labour market impact assessment.
The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council research shows agriculture has about 16,500 job vacancies and probably accounts for $2.9 billion in lost sales to the economy.