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Canada introduces NEW 3-Year PR pathway for Agri-Food workers

Canada introduces NEW 3-Year PR pathway for Agri-Food workers

Canada has announced that it plans to launch a new 3-year Permanent Residence program for skilled Agri-Food workers. The pilot program is set to launch in early 2020, in collaboration between Agriculture and Agri Food Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).  The new pathway has been created to help meet Canada’s labour shortages in the meat processing and mushroom production industry, which has struggled to retain employees in the long run.

The pilot program hopes to attract non-seasonal workers, who will be able to support the labour needs of the agri-food sector, by providing temporary workers with the opportunity to obtain permanent residency. At present, skilled farm workers who come to Canada through the Temporary Foreign worker program only receive limited or short-term work permits, which offer no permanent residency pathways.

The Agri food industry is a vital contributor to Canada’s economic growth, contributing over $66 billion in export income, and supporting 1 in 8 jobs across Canada. The Agri food pilot program complements the existing Atlantic Immigration pilot program, the Rural and Northern Immigration pilot program, a revived Express Entry program, and an expanded Provincial Nominee Program.

A list of eligible occupations under the Agri- food pilot program includes:

  • Meat Processing workers
    • Retail butchers
    • Industrial Butchers
  • Food Processing Labourers
  • Harvesting Labourers
    • Fruit picker
    • Harvesting crop farmers
    • Vegetable Packer
    • Cattle ranch labourer
  • General Farm Workers (For mushroom production)
    • Farm machinery operator
    • Vegetable farm worker
    • Harvester machine operator
  • Farm supervisors
  • Specialized livestock workers for meat processing, mushroom production and green house crop production.

Each year, the program will accept 2,750 applicants under this program. Over the course of the three-year program, the IRCC is expecting to welcome approximately 16,500 new permanent residents to Canada, including family members of the workers. This scheme also allows an additional 2,000 new Provincial Nominee program spaces to be made available for eligible, intermediate skilled temporary foreign workers.

Eligibility Criteria


  • One -year of full-time, non-seasonal work experience within Canada, under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, in an eligible occupation in meat processing, growing mushrooms, raising livestock or greenhouse crops
  • A minimum English language proficiency of CLB 4 in English or French
  • Canadian high school degree or international equivalent
  • an indeterminate job offer for full-time, non-seasonal work in Canada at or above the prevailing wage rate (Except Quebec)


  • Meat Processing employers will need to demonstrate their plans to support the temporary foreign worker in obtaining permanent residency.

*Eligible employers will be issued with a two-year Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).