The Canadian government has announced plans for a new three-year immigration pilot designed to help the agri-food sector bring in full-time, non-seasonal foreign workers required to deal with growing labour shortage by offering them a pathway towards Canadian permanent residence.
In recent federal Budget 2019, released on March 19, the Government of Canada announced, “To help the agri-food sector meet Canada’s ambitious export targets and attract and retain needed labour, the federal government will launch a three-year immigration pilot to bring in full time, non-seasonal agricultural workers that will include a pathway to permanent residency.”
The arrival of the agri-food immigration pilot has been roundly welcomed by bodies such as The Canadian Meat Council (CMC) that applauded the government of Canada’s plan and requested 2,750 immigration spots to fill meat processors, meat packers and equipment supplier positions that have not been filled by local workers.
It is quite evident from Industry Canada’s ‘Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table’ report published in September 2018 that there is an alarming need to address the immediate labour shortages faced by the Canada’s agriculture sector and to utilize country’s permanent immigration and temporary foreign worker programs to attract foreign skilled workers across various skill levels.
Canada’s Agriculture and Agri-food sector contributes $111 billion to the economy annually and $304 million per day and with the agri-food immigration pilot, these numbers may increase in the future.
However, the Canadian government’s immigration division – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), has yet to announce details on the pilot, which are expected to come soon.