Ag ministers seek labour solutions

QUEBEC CITY — While trade disputes and risk management programs grab immediate headlines, Canada’s agriculture ministers say resolving the labour shortage is a top priority for the sector’s long-term health.

At their recent annual meeting, ministers reviewed concerns about the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and agreed they have to find solutions to the challenges of recruiting workers through the program.

They said three short-term administrative changes are urgently needed:

  • addressing the cap on the temporary foreign workers in the low-wage stream of the program
  • easier access to the TFWP and faster application processing, particularly for recognized employers
  • modernizing the National Commodities List

“The provincial and territorial ministers recognized the efforts made to improve service delivery of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, as well as measures to support the transition of foreign workers to permanent residency, including through targeted opportunities for two-year Labour Market Impact Assessments,” said the communiqué issued after the meeting.

Quebec stands alone in that it is the only province solely responsible for the selection, reception and integration of immigrants to that province.

That province’s agriculture minister, Andre Lamontagne, said the three changes the ministers identified would help remove pressure in all provinces.

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