April 3, 2019. The Canadian government announced plans for a new three-year immigration pilot designed to support the growth of Canada’s agri-food sector.
In its Budget 2019, released March 19, the Government of Canada stated:
“To help the agri-food sector meet Canada’s ambitious export targets and attract and retain needed labour, the federal government will launch a three-year immigration pilot to bring in full time, non-seasonal agricultural workers that will include a pathway to permanent residency.”
The Canadian Meat Council (CMC) supports the federal government’s plans. In an update, the CMC says it has been requesting 2,750 immigration spots to fill meat packers, meat processors and equipment supplier positions that have not been filled by Canadians.
According to Industry Canada’s Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table report published in September 2018, there is an alarming need to address the immediate labour shortages facing the agriculture sector and to utilize Canada’s permanent immigration and temporary foreign worker programs to attract workers across various skill levels.
Canada’s Agriculture and Agri-food system contributes $111 billion to the economy annually and $304 million per day.
The federal government’s immigration division, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), has yet to announce details on the pilot.