• + 1 778-564-3555

Tag 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.

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

Expedited processing now allows temporary foreign workers to start their work in 10 days

COVID-19 outbreak has impacted the employment landscape and Canadian economy significantly. Many TFWs with employer specific work permit have lost jobs while in agriculture, agri-food and healthcare sectors employers are facing labour shortage. Thus, in response to Canada’s labour market needs Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has temporarily changed the policy which will allow temporary foreign workers (TFW’s), who already have a job offer in Canada, to start working in 10 days while their application is being processed during this pandemic.

According to the new policy if the temporary workers have job offer, they can submit a request to IRCC to have authorization of work. Their request will be reviewed in 10 days and if approved they will be notified through email. They can start working at their new job. This shall reduce the time required for a temporary worker to start new job from 10 weeks to 10 days.

Eligibility Criteria 

Role of Employers

However, employers still must obtain positive LMIA from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and get the foreign worker’s name added to it. For employer-specific LMIA-exempt situations, employers still need to submit an offer of employment through Employer Portal.

How to apply?

Workers must first apply for a work permit from inside Canada with new employer online or paper-based. After applying IRCC will ask applicants to fill out the web form, which will facilitate communication between applicants and the Canadian immigration department. IRCC will then send an email in 10 business days confirming the applicant can start working for their new employer while their application is under processing.

Contact us for consultation and assistance.