Hire a temporary worker through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program: Overview

COVID-19

Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, there are changes to this program.

Please read our latest notices:

1. Overview

The Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) allows employers to hire temporary foreign workers (TFW) when Canadians and permanent residents are not available.

These employers can hire TFWs from participating countries for a maximum period of 8 months, between January 1 and December 15, provided they are able to offer the workers a minimum of 240 hours of work within a period of 6 weeks or less.

To qualify for the SAWP, employers must meet 3 criteria:

  1. the TFWs hired must be citizens from Mexico or participating Caribbean countries
  2. production must be in specific commodity sectors
  3. the activity must be related to on farm primary agriculture

Note:

  • For the 2021 SAWP season, work permits for SAWP will indicate a 9-month work duration instead of the usual 8-month duration to accommodate the quarantine period (noting that work terms cannot exceed December 15, 2021).
  • Employers will continue to submit LMIAs that reflect their labour needs, which will not include the additional time to account for the quarantine period.
  • While the quarantine period is considered work, for program administrative purposes, the quarantine period will not count towards the work duration for the SAWP LMIA applications.

Participating countries

The SAWP applies only to TFWs who are citizens from:

  • Mexico
  • Caribbean countries of:
    • Anguilla
    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Barbados
    • Dominica
    • Grenada
    • Jamaica
    • Montserrat
    • St. Kitts-Nevis
    • St. Lucia
    • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
    • Trinidad and Tobago

Role of participating foreign governments

The SAWP operates according to bilateral agreements between Canada and the participating countries. The agreements outline the role of these foreign governments, which is to:

  • recruit and select the TFWs,
  • make sure workers have the necessary documents,
  • maintain a pool of qualified workers, and
  • appoint representatives to assist workers in Canada.

These governments also ensure that the men and women selected to work temporarily in Canada meet all the requirements of the SAWP. These requirements include being:

  • experienced in farming,
  • at least 18 years of age,
  • a citizen of one of the participating countries, and
  • able to satisfy the:
    • Canadian immigration laws, and
    • laws of the worker’s home country.

National commodity list

  • 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
  • seed corn
  • grains
  • oil seeds
  • maple syrup
  • sod
  • tobacco
  • bovine
  • dairy
  • duck
  • horse
  • mink
  • poultry
  • sheep
  • swine
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