AGRI - Agri-Food Pilot - May 22, 2020
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- The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of supporting the agri-food sector and strengthening Canada’s food security.
- To help with this, the Government launched the Agri-Food Pilot on May 15, 2020.
- This three-year pilot will test an industry-specific approach to help address labour shortages in the Canadian agri-food sector, particularly in the meat processing, mushroom and greenhouse production, and livestock raising industries.
- The pilot aims to attract and retain experienced workers in these industries by providing them with an opportunity to become permanent residents.
- While this permanent pathway won’t result in many new workers arriving from overseas to meet Canada’s immediate food supply needs (this season), along with facilitated temporary pathways, we believe it will be setting up the sector for success overall in these challenging times.
- A total of 2,750 applications will be accepted annually, with an estimated 16,500 new permanent residents landing throughout the pilot, including family members.
- Canada is committed to attracting the best talent from around the world to fill skill shortages, drive local economies, and create and support middle-class jobs in communities across the country that will benefit all Canadians.
- IRCC delayed the opening of the application process for the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot from March 30 to May 15, 2020, as Canada focused on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- While IRCC is continuing to accept and process completed applications at this time, service disruptions and restrictions due to COVID-19 may have an impact on processing times.
- Agricultural workers who lose their jobs or have their hours reduced, as a result of COVID-19, can begin working in a new job while maintaining implied status under a new public policy that took effect May 12, 2020. The job offer must be supported by a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment. Previously, these workers couldn’t begin working in a new position until a new work permit was issued.
- All full-time, non-seasonal work experience in an eligible industry and occupation obtained under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will count toward meeting the requirement of the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot. Work experience does not need to be with a single employer.
Supporting facts and figures
- The three-year Agri-Food Immigration Pilot opened on May 15, 2020, and will accept applications until May 14, 2023.
- The agriculture and agri-food industry is an important contributor to Canada’s economic growth, supporting 1 in 8 jobs across the country.
- In 2019, agricultural exports hit a new record, reaching $67 billion.
- Over the past several years, the meat processing, mushroom and greenhouse production, and livestock raising industries have experienced ongoing difficulty in finding and keeping employees.
- Budget 2019 announced the Government’s intention to support Canada Food Policy initiatives with a pilot program aimed at providing a pathway to permanent residence for workers in the agri-food industry.
- The Agri-Food Pilot will test an industry-specific approach to the labour market needs of the Canadian agri-food sector, particularly in the meat processing, mushroom and greenhouse production, and livestock raising industries.
- The pilot will provide agri-food employers with the opportunity to retain temporary foreign workers as permanent residents, and to fill jobs year-round. It targets experienced workers with a genuine intent to remain in Canada. Eligibility requirements were established with a view to support newcomers’ economic establishment and integration.
- Eligible job offers must be for full-time, non-seasonal employment. Applicants must have a minimum of 12 months of full-time, non-seasonal Canadian work experience in an eligible occupation and industry obtained through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program over the last three years, and meet other criteria such as language and educational requirements.
- The Agri-Food Pilot complements Canada’s existing suite of economic immigration programs and pilots, including but not limited to the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, and the Provincial Nominee Program.
- The Multi-Year Levels Plan, tabled on March 12, 2020, proposes increased space for the Provincial Nominee Program, the Agri-Food Pilot and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilots, and a permanent Atlantic Immigration Program. This plan marks a commitment to meet labour market needs and ensure the benefits of immigration reach all regions of the country.
- [redacted] (12 months processing on average after complete applications received), however, farms and agri-food sector employers will benefit from having a pathway for some of their temporary foreign workers to become permanent residents while they recruit additional temporary and/or domestic supply.
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