The Agri-Food Pilot is conceptualised to build resilience in the agriculture sector, which sees thousands of jobs go unfilled each year. It helps address the labour needs of the Canadian agri-food sector. The pilot provides a pathway to permanent residence for experienced, non-seasonal workers in specific industries and occupations. It will run until May 2023.
The three-year pilot is an experiment by definition and that the federal government is open to ways they can improve the program and “ensure that it’s meeting the objective of recognizing those contributions — the value of the work on farms when it comes to food security — by providing a clear way [migrant workers] can establish permanent residency in Canada.”Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said the pilot will accept 2,750 applications annually. Eligible industries and eligible jobs under the pilot are listed below:
- Meat product manufacturing: Retail butchers, Industrial butchers, Food processing labourers, Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
- Greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production, including mushroom production: General farm workers, Harvesting labourers, Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
- Animal production, excluding aquaculture: General farm workers, Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
Foreign workers fill an important role in the Canadian agriculture sector, where 59,000 positions went unfilled last year, according to a study from the Senate committee on agriculture and forestry. The report found that the number of unfilled positions could hit 114,000 by 2025.