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Canada’s Farming Sector Concerned Over Temporary Worker Cuts 

By cvf, 05/21/2024

Canada’s farming sector is concerned over its labour needs being met with federal government plans to reduce the number of temporary foreign workers available.

This could be very damaging to the farming industry, owing to the vast reliance of Canadian agriculture on temporary foreign workers.  

Farmtario reported that Janet Krayden, Canadian Mushroom Growers’ Association workforce specialist, said that the decision to reduce the share of temporary residents in Canada to five per cent of the total population over the next three years is unfair in placing TFWs in the same category as international students.  

“They’re lumping in primary agriculture, temporary foreign worker program usage, with the international student program,” Krayden said.  

“So, there’s two completely different programs. One is run out of Immigration Canada, the other is run out of the Temporary Foreign Worker program, (from) ESDC (Employment and Social Development Canada).” 

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Temporary foreign worker rules announced in March had made adjustments to TFW numbers, effective May 1, under which some sectors had been allowed no more than 20 per cent of their workforces to be made up of TFWs brought in through the low wage stream. This was down from 30 per cent since 2022.  

Agriculture workers had not been mentioned in the rule changes, which had instead been focussed on wood product manufacturing, furniture manufacturing, accommodation and food service, and food manufacturing.  

However, the reduction of up to 600,000 TFWs over the next three years – which is expected to reduce demand on Canada’s limited housing supply – directly impacts agricultural workers, according to Farmtario.  

According to Kraden, “we continually are hearing the temporary foreign worker program now becoming sort of a bit of a scapegoat by ministers and the minister of immigration, minister of ESDC, as well as the prime minister for the housing costs and the rise of rent.” 

A Canadian Mushroom Growers’ Association internal briefing states that Canada has “more than 807,000 international students on permits who live in urban areas,” citing data from Statistics Canada. At the same time, StatCan lists the total number of TFWs in agricultural industries in 2023 at approximately 70,000. 

“These are sparsely populated areas, where the workers either are provided with employer paid housing that mostly already exists, or they’re comfortably settled,” Krayden said. 

“The people that are allowed to come to work on the farms are all vetted as filling a job vacancy with the labour market impact assessment process.”  

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“Compared to international students in the urban centres, it’s totally different.” 

The Agricultural Stream of the TFWP allows employers to hire temporary foreign workers (TFWs) when Canadians and permanent residents are not available. 

The housing requirement under the program states that Employers must provide TFWs with adequate, suitable and affordable housing as defined by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The housing can be either on-farm (for example, bunkhouse) or off-site (for example, commercial establishment). 

Employers must ensure that sufficient housing will be made available for all TFWs per approved accommodation from the date of arrival to the date of departure. 

The post Canada’s Farming Sector Concerned Over Temporary Worker Cuts  appeared first on Canada Immigration and Visa Information. Canadian Immigration Services and Free Online Evaluation..



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