Test project to allow foreign workers to stay in country

OTTAWA — A pilot project to help foreign agriculture workers stay in Canada starts March 31.

The three-year pilot is to designed to address the labour needs for year-round mushroom and greenhouse production, as well as the meat and livestock sectors.

The project is open to 1,470 applications per year through Immigration Canada. Specific occupations include industrial and retail butchers, farm supervisors, specialized livestock workers and general farm workers.

“We want to make sure there is full uptake in this program and we get the highest share spots available for our industry in this pilot,” said Brady Stadnicki of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

This program is expected to help provide a long-term, stable workforce beyond the temporary foreign workers program.

Eligibility requirements will be posted on the Immigration Canada website at the end of the month. Applicants seeking permanent residency need one year of work experience in the country, a job offer and should meet or exceed education and language requirements.

The Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council reports:

  • 16,500 agriculture jobs could not be filled in 2017.
  • 47 percent of agricultural producers could not find enough workers, causing stress, production delays, lost sales, and delays or cancellations for farm expansions or upgrades.
  • 34 percent of employers reported that no Canadians applied for jobs on their farms.
  • 2.9 billion in sales were lost because jobs went unfilled.

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