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Canada Agri-Food Immigration Pilot
Immigration and Citizenship

Canada opens immigration to foreign agri-food workers

New agri-food immigration pilot

The federal government has launched Canada Agri-Food Immigration Pilot to attract foreign workers to the agri-food sector across Canada. Canada is launching a new 3-year economic immigration pilot that will fill labour shortages, particularly in meat processing and mushroom production, within the agri-food sector and help meet Canada’s ambitious export targets.


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The agriculture and agri-food industry is an important contributor to Canada’s economic growth and vitality, supporting 1 in 8 jobs across the country. Agricultural exports hit a new record in 2018, reaching $66.2 billion.

Over the past several years, industries such as meat processing and mushroom production have experienced ongoing difficulty in finding and keeping new employees.

This new pilot aims to attract and retain workers by providing them with an opportunity to become permanent residents.

The Agri-Food Immigration Pilot complements Canada’s economic immigration strategy, which includes the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, the Global Skills Strategy, a revitalized Express Entry and an expanded Provincial Nominee Program.


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Quotes

“This pilot is another example of how immigration is helping to grow local economies and creating jobs for Canadians.”

– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“The success of our Canadian farmers and food processors depends on their ability to recruit and retain the workforce they need to capture opportunities at home and abroad. This pilot will help to ensure that employers in the agriculture and agri-food sector have the people they need to get the job done, to help drive our economy and to feed the world.”

– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Our government is always looking for ways to promote growth in rural communities. This pilot provides those communities who rely on the agri-food sector the opportunity to address their labour market needs. It builds upon commitments made in Canada’s first-ever Rural Economic Development Strategy and the successful Atlantic Immigration Pilot.”

– The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development

“Today we are delivering on something that employers, unions, and migrant workers have been calling on government to do for over a decade – temporary foreign workers who come to this country and work hard filling permanent jobs should have a fair and reasonable chance to become a Canadian regardless of the job they are filling.”

– Rodger Cuzner, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Quick facts about Canada Agri-Food Immigration Pilot

  • Employers in the agri-food sector who intend to be part of the pilot will be eligible for a 2-year Labour Market Impact Assessment.
  • Temporary foreign workers will be able to apply under this pilot in early 2020.
  • A maximum of 2,750 principal applicants, plus family members, will be accepted for processing in any given year. This represents a total of approximately 16,500 possible new permanent residents over the 3-year duration of the pilot.
  • Addressing these labour market needs will help key industries in Canada’s specialized agri-food sector grow.

Canada Agri-Food Immigration Pilot Eligibility requirements

The eligibility requirements for the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot are:

  • 12-months of full-time, non-seasonal Canadian work experience in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, in an eligible occupation in processing meat products, raising livestock, or growing mushrooms or greenhouse crops;
  • a Canadian Language Benchmark level 4 in English or French;
  • the foreign equivalent of a Canadian high school education or greater;
  • an indeterminate job offer for full-time, non-seasonal work in Canada, outside of Quebec, at or above the prevailing wage.

The federal government says details on how individuals can apply for the pilot will be available in early 2020.

2-year LMIA for employers

Eligible employers in the meat processing sector who use the pilot will be issued a two-year Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

In order to be eligible, meat processors will be required to outline their plans to support the temporary foreign worker in obtaining permanent residency.

Unionized meat processors will require a letter of support from their union and non-unionized meat processors will have to meet additional requirements to ensure the labour market and migrant workers are protected, IRCC says.


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