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