Foreign farm workers in several provinces fell ill from the virus, and three migrant employees have died. That brought negative attention to a system that was already looked upon poorly by many, despite those in the agricultural world maintaining the majority of workers arriving in Canada are treated fairly. | File photo

Time for Canada to improve conditions for foreign workers

Now is the time for the Canadian government to overhaul the country’s foreign worker program. It is the right thing to do and will benefit Canadian agriculture. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the shortcomings of the current program, which sees thousands of people come to Canada each year to work on farms. Foreign farm workers […] Read more

If farm workers aren’t both better protected and kept as a central part of Canadian agriculture, Canadi-ans could face a future of more expensive food that has to be imported rather than produced here. | File photo

Report urges overhaul of foreign workers program

An analyst from the University of Calgary says food may end up costing more if temporary foreign workers aren’t better protected

It’s time to overhaul foreign farm worker conditions, rights and benefits, says a report by Simpson Centre analyst Robert Falconer. If farm workers aren’t both better protected and kept as a central part of Canadian agriculture, Canadians could face a future of more expensive food that has to be imported rather than produced here. “Taking […] Read more

By 2019, the number of foreign workers on Canadian farms had reached nearly 60,000, based on data from the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary. | File photo

Report shines light on foreign worker role

In 2015, about 40,000 temporary foreign workers were employed on Canadian farms. Most of those jobs were at vegetable farms, orchards and greenhouses, but many workers were employed at grain farms, cattle ranches and poultry operations. By 2019, the number of foreign workers on Canadian farms had reached nearly 60,000, based on data from the […] Read more


Simone Lalonde, left, with Nicaraguan workers Junior Mora Lopez, Hector Salinas Medina and William Serrano.  Lalonde says farmers who hire temporary foreign workers are getting a bad rap.  |  William DeKay photo

Farmers worry about potential labour crackdown

Canada’s agricultural industry may be losing the public relations war when it comes to temporary foreign workers. This spring, media in Toronto reported many stories on the darker side of temporary foreign workers — how they’re mistreated, exploited and forced to work under inhumane conditions on farms. These images are more than a public relations […] Read more

In Canada, where farms rely on 60,000 temporary foreign workers, their arrivals are delayed by initial border restrictions and grounded flights. Once they arrive, the federal government requires them to be isolated for 14 days with pay, unable to work. | File photo

Canada, U.S. farms face crop losses due to foreign worker delays

WINNIPEG, Manitoba/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Mandatory coronavirus quarantines of seasonal foreign workers in Canada could hurt that country’s fruit and vegetable output this year, and travel problems related to the pandemic could also leave U.S. farmers with fewer workers than usual. Foreign labor is critical to farm production in both countries, where domestic workers shun the […] Read more


Beekeepers depend on seasonal workers from Mexico, the Philippines and other nations because many Canadians don’t want to work at an apiary, likely located in a remote and rural area.
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Beekeepers frustrated by temporary foreign worker audits

Without temporary foreign workers Canada’s honey production would probably be cut in half. Beekeepers depend on seasonal workers from Mexico, the Philippines and other nations because many Canadians don’t want to work at an apiary, likely located in a remote and rural area. As a result, beekeepers must retain their foreign employees and take steps […] Read more

The Alberta government wants employers to hire provincial residents first before using temporary foreign workers or other options. | File photo

Alta. encourages hiring local first

The Alberta government wants employers to hire provincial residents first before using temporary foreign workers or other options. Alberta Labour Minister Christina Gray today announced the Employer Liaison Service, a federal-provincial pilot project she said is designed to ensure Albertans are “first in line” when employees are needed. The 24-month pilot program will connect employers […] Read more

Honey producers, particularly in the Prairies, depend on temporary foreign workers because they can't find Canadians to work in beekeeping operations. | File photo

Ottawa plans to eliminate controversial 4 and 4 rule

Regulation forced temporary foreign workers to leave the country for four years after working four years

Kevin Nixon is feeling relieved. For about five years, honey producers like him have been asking the federal government to change a rule that made it difficult for beekeepers to retain foreign workers. On Dec. 13 the government relented by abandoning a controversial rule that allowed foreigners to work in Canada for only four years. […] Read more


Honey producers, particularly in the Prairies, depend on temporary foreign workers because they can't find Canadians to work in beekeeping operations. | File photo

Feds change foreign worker program; four and four rule gone

Kevin Nixon and many beekeepers across Canada slept well last night. Yesterday, the federal government announced changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, throwing out a controversial rule where foreigners could only work in Canada for four years. “In order to prevent unnecessary hardship and instability for both workers and employers, the four-year cumulative duration […] Read more

Meat processors say they can’t attract Canadian labourers and are dependent on foreign workers.  |  File photo

Hog firm hopes for TFWP reform

The leaders of Hylife Foods feel optimistic about the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. In October, Hylife announced plans to invest $125 million in its hog barns and Neepawa slaughter and processing plant in Manitoba. The investment is expected to create 165 jobs, increasing Hylife’s workforce to nearly 2,000. It made the investment an-nouncement while the […] Read more