The Maple Leaf Foods amphitheatre in Mississauga served as the host to Ahmed Hussen, federal minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship who announced a new agri-food immigration pilot on July 12. While the three-year pilot to offer permanent residency is primarily aimed at the meat industry, there is also room for year-round greenhouse workers.
As Hon. Hussen explained, the pilot is intended to attract experienced, non-seasonal workers who can economically establish in Canada and who can support ongoing labour needs of the agri-food sector. Specifically, the pilot will focus on attracting retail butchers, industrial butchers, food processing labourers, harvesting labourers, general farm workers and farm supervisors. Workers in year-round greenhouse crop production will be eligible for the program.
Candidates must have
- - 12 months of full-time, non-seasonal Canadian work experience in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in an eligible occupation (includes greenhouse crops)
- - A Canadian Language Benchmark level 4 in English or French
- - An education at high school level or greater (Canadian equivalency)
- - An indeterminate job offer for full-time, non-seasonal work in Canada, outside of Quebec, at or above the prevailing wage
A maximum of 2,750 principal applicants, plus family members, will be accepted for processing in any given year. This represents a total of approximately 16,500 possible new permanent residents over the three-year duration of the pilot.
Employers in the agri-food sector who intend to be part of the pilot will be eligible for a two-year Labour Market Impact Assessment.
Details on how individuals may apply for permanent residence through this pilot will be available in early 2020. Minister Hussen told The Grower that a number of federal ministries are involved and will need the six-month lead time to transition.
“This pilot program gives hope to workers in the greenhouse sector that there may be a pathway forward to permanent residency in Canada,” stated Stefan Larrass, senior policy advisor, Labour Issues Coordinating Committee/policy advisor, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association.
Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada July 12, 2019 news release