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Category Archives: Agriculture

Future of Canadian Farmers and Food Production

Agriculture in Canada

The food production and security of Canada is dependent on its farmers. Agriculture accounts for 1.9 percent of Canada’s GDP.

Canada’s agriculture and Agri-food business employs a total of 2-3 million people and offers a wide range of high-quality job opportunities with competitive pay and benefits. Agriculture industry contributed CAD 41037 million in July 2021 as opposed to 46072 million in Jan 2021.

Challenges faced by Canadian farmers and its impact on agricultural products

Future of agriculture in Canada can be transformative, but to grab this opportunity Canadian farmers must address challenges, adapt to a new way of hiring workforce, and need to upgrade their farming skills.

In Canada, the average farm operator is over 50 years old, with fewer young people entering the agricultural profession each year and the rural population levels remaining constant over the last three decades.

These factors are causing a significant labor shortage in Canada, which the Canadian Agriculture Human Resources Council estimates will result in 123,000 vacant posts by 2030, excluding overseas workers.

Difficulty to access labor is leaving farmers vulnerable and without enough labor the quality and quantity of harvested crops is deteriorating. As the number of farmers drops and agricultural debt levels rises, farmer’s overall viability is jeopardized.

Federal Government’s Workforce Action Plan

To solve Canada’s agriculture sector serious and pervasive workforce shortages, the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Workforce Action Plan were created to address the agricultural sector’s top business risk management challenges.

The national Labor Task Force (LTF) developed this plan in consultation with industry representatives from each area of agriculture and Agri-food value chain, including the seafood sector.

This action plan contains short, medium, and long-term plans for the government and industry to strengthen the future of Canadian agriculture. These plans include:

  • Expanding the labor supply for both skilled and unskilled workers
  • Improving knowledge and skills of agricultural sector workers

A comprehensive set of policies and priorities announced and being implemented at the federal level in Canada’s agriculture and farming industry is intended to address these fundamental challenges and level the playing field for new entrants of all ages and backgrounds, regardless of their scale or mode of production.

Solving labor shortage through two programs:  

Seasonal Agriculture Worker Program

The Seasonal Agriculture Worker Program (SAWP) is more than five decades old program that came into effect with the signing of bilateral conventions with the participating countries by the Canadian federal government.

SAWP authorizes employers to engage temporary foreign workers when Canadian and permanent residents are not available. Employers must meet three criteria to be eligible for SAWP:

  • TFWs must be Mexican citizens or citizens of Caribbean nations that participate in the program.
  • Production must be in specific commodity sectors such as Apiary products, fruits, vegetables (including canning/processing of these products if grown on the farm), mushrooms, flowers, nursery-grown trees including Christmas trees, greenhouses/nurseries, pedigreed canola seed, sod, tobacco, bovine, dairy, duck, horse, mink, poultry, sheep, swine.
  • The job activity must be related to on farm primary agriculture
Labor Market Impact Assessment: Agriculture stream

The Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is another program designed to supplement Canadian workforce when there is no Canadian citizens or permanent residents available to do the job. This involves a verification process whereby ESDC assesses an offer of employment to ensure that the employment of a foreign worker will not have a negative impact on the Canadian labor market.

Employers need to provide a variety of information about the job position for which they want to hire a foreign worker, including the number of Canadians who applied for the position, the number of Canadians who were interviewed, and evidence that they have attempted to find qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents to fill job positions before turning to foreign workers.

How we can help you?

  • The LMIA rules, regulations and requirements are subject to frequent changes. These changes deal with different categories of jobs, duration, exemptions etc. Continuous research, attention to detail and painstaking hard work is required to obtain a positive LMIA. We help in assessment of our client’s profile and advise them on their eligibility to get an LMIA.
  • We also assist our clients/employers with the advertisement posting.
  • We help Canadian employers for applying Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application and legally representing them before ESDC during the procedure.

What makes Canada a great destination for immigrants?

10th largest economy in the world

Canada is a thriving country that claims the 10th largest GDP worldwide, fueled in part by its vast natural resources, significant industrial base, tourist attraction, and vibrant seafood industry. According to Statistics Canada, Canada’s economy is extremely service-oriented, with 78.9% of Canadians working in a service-related job, though it is perceived that Canada is growing due to its natural resources. Though the manufacturing sector is relatively small in comparison to the service sector, it is the cornerstone of Canadian economy, with 68% of its exports constituting merchandise exports.

World-class education system

Canada tops the list as the most educated country in the world. According to the OECD over 56 percent of adults in the Great White North have earned some education after high school. Canada’s high academic standards and rigorous quality controls assure that you will be earning a high-quality education that will open doors for your future and benefit your career over the long term. A Canadian degree, diploma or certificate is globally recognized as being equivalent to those obtained from the United States or Commonwealth countries.

The quality of education and living standards in Canada are amongst the highest in the world, but the cost of living and tuition fees for international students are generally lower than in other countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Under Canada’s highly dynamic and hands-on academic environment, you will not only acquire knowledge and skills in analysis and communication, but you will also learn how to express yourself, demonstrate your creativity, and develop your self-confidence.

Canada has world’s top universities, such as McGill University, the University of Toronto, McMaster University, and the University of British Columbia which rank among the world’s top 100 academia.

Booming tech industry

Canada’s evolution over the years as a fount of technology is mirrored by the growth of the Tech sector. Toronto and other parts of Canada have been feasting on tech talent as immigrants are diverting from the U.S. due to stringent immigration policies like temporary suspension of H1B1 Visa which facilitated immigration for thousands of skilled immigrant workers every year. Even during coronavirus outbreak, immigrants in the U.S. faced unusual threat to employment, where in the U.S. is closing doors for immigrants while Canada is attracting an impressive flow of technology jobs and investment.

Tech companies with global footprint are setting up hubs and expanding operations in Canada. The number of tech jobs in Toronto has risen steeply with an increase of 54% from about 148,000 to 228,000 in the past since 2013. Canada certainly displays compelling potential with its mix of talent, technology, and universities together with highly skilled immigrants possessing STEM degrees even before arrival into the country.

Vancouver and Calgary are booming towards clean tech innovation, while Montreal has established itself as a hub for innovation in Artificial Intelligence and game development. Overall, Canada is attempting to attract highly skilled foreign professionals through visa programs like the Global Talent Stream with fast processing time where you move to Canada as quickly as a month as well as provincial tech programs that offer an expedited immigration pathway for people with tech skills .

Multiculturalism and immigration supportive

Over several decades, multiculturalism has evolved from a humanitarian approach to an official policy which became a defining part of Canada’s national identity. Canadian Prime minister Justin Trudeau government’s mantra is “diversity is our strength” which depicts the characteristic Canadian willingness to include various ethnic groups towards the cultural enrichment of Canada.

Canada has been accepting more immigrants per capita than any other developed Western countries. Particularly 310,000 new permanent residents were welcomed by Canada in 2018 and further it is expected that Canada will welcome nearly one million immigrants over the next three years.

In Canada, multiculturalism has always been a form of integration where people respect the diversity of languages, religions, and cultures. Multiculturalism exists when people accept and encourage many cultures to thrive in a society which can be seen particularly in major cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in modern history and this is because of a unique mix of various dominant groups like the British, Irish, Indian, Chinese, Italian and smaller groups like the Dutch, Japanese and Romanians.

Most inclusive country in the world

Canadians have always prided themselves as being open and inclusive. According to Ipsos recently released research, Canada ranks 1st among 25 countries on inclusiveness. Canada stood 2nd on LGBTQ Inclusiveness Score after France as the country has strong support for the LGBTQ community which is evident as Canada became the 4th nation worldwide to legalize same-sex marriage and the first nation outside of Europe in 2015.

Canada actively promotes inclusion and respect for diversity at home and abroad. Establishing equality is a top challenge that the entire human society is facing at the moment, but Canada seems to manage this challenge efficiently in social, economic, cultural, and civic inclusion. In Canada it is apparent that women have a strong voice, along with this basic women’s rights such as voting, birth control access and abortion are long-established and safeguarded in the country.

Universal health-care system

Canada’s health care system has prominent features that distinguish it from virtually all other high-income countries providing universal health care coverage. Firstly, healthcare in Canada is delivered through the provincial and territorial systems called Medicare, which is publicly funded. Canada has one of the world’s highest life expectancy rates and stands at 18th position in the world for life expectancy.

Canadian citizens have the second highest quality of life in the world, according to The World Economic Forum ranking, which ranks countries by quality of life using criteria like access to medical care, sanitation, and shelter, as well as education, life expectancy, and personal freedoms.

Employee entitlements

Canada is exceptional as “provincial law governs annual paid leave, unless the employee falls under federal jurisdiction.” All provinces guarantee two weeks paid vacation, except for three weeks in Saskatchewan. Along with this the employees receive statutory holidays depending on the province.  Canadians also have secured access to a variety of monetary protections including Employment Insurance (EI), old age security, the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP), and a federal childcare benefit.

The minimum wage in Canada ranges from $11 to $15 among different provinces and it stands among one of the highest in the world.  Canadian workers also have access to new family-friendly benefits and progressive workplace policies that allow up to 18 months of parental leave, with the mother and father able to share the leave however they choose.

Beautiful and safe place

The landscapes of Canada range from arctic tundra and BC’s snow-capped mountains, to beautifully desolate prairies and PEI’s rugged coastlines along with interesting architecture in Montreal’s historic buildings. From coast to coast to coast, the country is home to vibrant and culturally rich cities, along with incredible natural wonders.

According to the Global Peace Index of 2018, Canada was ranked the 6th most peaceful nation in the world. Be it protection of citizens on the streets, guarding them against misconduct, or even shielding them against online crime, Canada has done it all. Canada is also known for their strong gun control as they have a comparatively peaceful approach to foreign diplomacy.

Stable democratic political system

The Economist ranked Canada as third-most democratic nation according to its Democracy Index in the year 2006. Canada’s political system is a parliamentary democracy, with its own social and political institutions. Though Canadian governments shift between various liberal and conservative parties depending on the political climate; there is no moral shift as core values and ideologies like women’s and LGBT rights, environmental concerns, and immigration, are shared by the political parties.

Ontario’s is re-opening and expanding its in-demand skills stream

Ontario is re-opening and expanding one of its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams (in-demand skills stream). The in-demand skills stream is currently closed but will re-open on July 6, 2020. As of July 06, job offer from 13 additional positions located outside of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) will be accepted under the program. The purpose of the stream is to enhance responsiveness to program priorities and address labour shortages in specific in-demand occupations (e.g. agriculture, construction, trucking, and other low-to-semi-skilled NOC C or D occupations). This stream is open to foreign workers in and outside of Canada.

Program Requirements

Job Offer

Candidate must have a full-time and permanent job offer (i.e. a minimum of 1,560 hours in a year and no end date of the position). The job offer must be in an eligible occupation inside or outside of the GTA.

Eligible Occupation(s): The job offer must fall under following National Occupation Classification (NOC) skill level C or D codes:

  1. NOC 3413 – nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates
  2. NOC 4412 – home support workers and related occupations, excluding housekeepers
  3. NOC 7441 – residential and commercial installers and servicers
  4. NOC 7511 – transport truck drivers
  5. NOC 7521 – heavy equipment operators (except crane)
  6. NOC 7611 – construction trades helpers and labourers
  7. NOC 8431 – general farm workers
  8. NOC 8432 – nursery and greenhouse workers
  9. NOC 8611 – harvesting labourers
  10. NOC 9462 – industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers

Expanded occupations: As of July 6, a job offers under the following  13 NOC codes (also levels C or D) will be valid for this stream:

  1. NOC 9411 – machine operators, mineral and metal processing
  2. NOC 9416 – metalworking and forging machine operators
  3. NOC 9417 – machining tool operators
  4. NOC 9418 – other metal products machine operators
  5. NOC 9421 – chemical plant machine operators
  6. NOC 9422 – plastics processing machine operators
  7. NOC 9437 – woodworking machine operators
  8. NOC 9446 – industrial sewing machine operators
  9. NOC 9461 – process control and machine operators, food, beverage and associated products processing
  10. NOC 9523 – electronics assemblers, fabricators, inspectors, and testers
  11. NOC 9526 – mechanical assemblers and inspectors
  12. NOC 9536 – industrial painters, coaters, and metal finishing process operators
  13. NOC 9537 – other products assemblers, finishers, and inspectors

Wage/Salary

The wage/salary of the job offer must be equal or higher than the median wage level, for that occupation, in the specific region of Ontario where the worker is/will be working.

Work experience

Candidate must have at least 9 months of cumulative paid full-time work experience (or the equivalent in part-time work) in Ontario, in the same in-demand occupation (same NOC code) as the job offer. The candidate must have gained this work experience within the three years prior to submitting the application while legally living and working in Ontario.

Language

The candidate must be able to understand, read, write and speak either English or French at a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 4 or higher.

Education

The candidate must have a Canadian secondary school (high school) diploma or credential, or its equivalent in another country. The candidate need to get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) for overseas education from one of the following organizations, designated by IRCC:

Contact us for consultation and assessment.

Contribution & distribution of temporary foreign workers across industries in Canada

Temporary foreign workers (TFWs) have been an integral part of the Canadian labour market. This is evident from the significant surge in the number of foreign nationals with effective work permit over the recent years. Around 4,70,000 foreign nationals have a work permit that became effective in 2019 as compared to 3,40,000 in 2017 and 3,90,000 in 2018.

Nevertheless, their contribution to the labour market could be severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken by governments at all levels to contain the spread of the virus. Even though TFWs are allowed to enter Canada, there is a high probability of downsize or delay in the availability of new TFWs due to travel restrictions in some source countries, their unwillingness to travel due to the fear of virus infection, and the mandatory 14-day self-isolation policy upon arrival. Additionally, many businesses are temporarily closed or are operating considerably below their full capacity, which could lead to disproportionate layoffs among temporary foreign workers.

The possible shortages of TFWs, in the sectors with significant employment share, may have a substantial impact on the performance and survival of the firms during and after the pandemic period.

Proportion of temporary foreign workers, selected industries

Note: NAICS = North American Industry Classification System
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Employer–Employee Dynamics Database

TFWs are more concentrated in specific subsectors. For example, 27.4% of employees in crop production where TFWs accounted for 41.6% of the agricultural workers in Ontario, and over 30% of the agricultural workers in Quebec, British Columbia and Nova Scotia during 2017.

Some non-agricultural industries that are continuing to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic also have a relative high share of TFWs such as private household services (9.8%), gasoline stations (8%), warehousing and storage (4.3%), and food manufacturing (3.4%).Therefore, possible shortages of TFWs may have a significant impact on the performance and survival of these firms during and after the pandemic period.

Though, it is too early to understand the implications of COVID-19 pandemic on the supply and demand for TFWs, the analysis provides important implications for the possible delays in the inflow of new TFWs that could affect essential services during the pandemic and the upcoming economic recovery period. This may have a particularly strong effect on the agriculture sector, given that the timing of pandemic coincides with the period of highest demand for seasonal agricultural foreign workers who primarily come to Canada in the spring and early summer.

Need help for LMIA application and hiring foreign workers!

The LMIA rules, regulations and requirements are subject to frequent changes. These changes deal with different categories of jobs, duration, exemptions etc. Continuous research, attention to detail and painstaking hard work is required to obtain a positive LMIA. We help in assessment of our client’s profile and advice them on their eligibility to get an LMIA. We help Canadian employers for applying LMIA application and legally representing them before ESDC during the process.We help clients to apply for their Work Permit which authorizes them to legally work in Canada.

ESDC has currently waived the advertisement requirements for agriculture stream LMIA applications and hence the applications are being processed on expedite and priority basis.

Contact us for consultation and assistance

Compliance obligations for employers hiring temporary foreign workers during COVID-19

Employers hiring foreign workers in this current COVID-19 pandemic situation have a specific responsibility in helping to prevent the introduction and spread of the coronavirus. The Government of Canada has introduced new public health and safety requirements and guidance to facilitate the entry of temporary foreign workers (TFW’s). New regulations in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) have also created additional obligations for employers considering COVID-19 pandemic. The compliance inspections can be random, based on suspected non-compliance or previous non-compliance. According to the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement of the Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Emergencies Act and Quarantine Act): SOR/2020-91, new measures allow inspections to be initiated in other situations: when a communicable disease presents at the workplace of a foreign worker or when a foreign worker is or was required to comply with an order of the Quarantine Act.

Compliance obligations related to COVID-19

  • The foreign worker must self- quarantine for a 14- day period upon entering. Forcing a foreign worker to show up to a workplace during the 14-day period would be considered to be a violation of the new requirement.
  • The employer cannot authorize the foreign worker to work during the quarantine period, even if requested by the worker. There are exceptions for those deemed as providing an essential service by the Chief Public Health Officer. In addition, the employer cannot ask the worker to perform other duties during that period, such as building repairs or administrative tasks.
  • The foreign worker’s employment period begins upon their arrival to Canada, and includes the initial 14 – days of mandatory quarantine period.
  • The employer must pay regular wages and benefits to the foreign worker for the quarantine period based on the hourly wage indicated on the LMIA and/or offer of employment.
  • The employer is asked to monitor the health of foreign workers who are in quarantine, as well as any employee who becomes sick after the quarantine period. If a foreign worker becomes symptomatic at any time, the employer should contact local public health officials.

Additional criteria for employers providing accommodations to TFW

  • The employer is required to house quarantining foreign workers in accommodations that are separate from those not subject to quarantine. This may require finding alternate accommodations (for example hotel) if this requirement cannot be met.
  • Self-isolating/quarantined foreign workers are separate from other foreign workers and remain at least 2 meters away from another person.
  • Cleaning products for the purpose of cleaning and disinfecting the accommodations regularly are provided to workers who are in isolation or quarantine.
  • For the duration of the quarantine period, the employer is asked to ensure that the accommodations do not prevent the worker from avoiding contact with older adults (65+) and those with medical conditions who are at risk of developing serious illness.

Penalties for non-compliance

If employer is found to be non-compliant as a result of a Service Canada inspection, specifically to the new IRPR requirements related to COVID-19, the department has the authority to apply the most severe consequences possible.

  • Administrative monetary penalties
  • A ban of one, two, five or ten years, or permanent bans on new LMIAs/work permits for the most serious violations
  • The publication on a list of non-compliant employers
  • The revocation of existing LMIAs/work permits

Implications for foreign workers

Under the Quarantine Act, temporary foreign workers (TFW’s) will be penalized if their actions are found to compromise public health. TFW’s convicted of violating an order would be unable to enter Canada for a year without permission through an Authorization to Return to Canada request.

The COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving with new measures being adopted or modified at both the federal and provincial level. It is a challenging time for everyone, and employers and foreign workers are no exception. With new regulations and compliance, there are tools to protect public health and wage security amid COVID-19 pandemic. However, time will tell how the compliance regime deals with rapidly changing economic circumstances that are likely to impact employers.

Need help for LMIA application and hiring foreign workers!

The LMIA rules, regulations and requirements are subject to frequent changes. These changes deal with different categories of jobs, duration, exemptions etc. Continuous research, attention to detail and painstaking hard work is required to obtain a positive LMIA. We help in assessment of our client’s profile and advice them on their eligibility to get an LMIA. We help Canadian employers for applying LMIA application and legally representing them before ESDC during the process.We help clients to apply for their Work Permit which authorizes them to legally work in Canada.

ESDC has currently waived the advertisement requirements for agriculture stream LMIA applications and hence the applications are being processed on expedite and priority basis.

Need help staying in Canada!

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to challenging times in Canada and around the world. Many people are under distress and anxiety. We understand! Can-X is here to help you figure it out, so you can have peace of mind. You could be an international student, worker, or visitor looking to extend your stay in Canada. You may be seeking a pathway to permanent immigration. Or you may be looking to reunite with a loved one. Whatever the reason, contact us to discuss your immigration needs, and we’ll provide our insights and help as much as we can during these difficult times.

We Care!