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Agri-Food Pilot hopes to address agricultural labor shortages

May 19, 2020  by Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Marco E. L. Mendicino, minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that effective May 15, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will begin accepting applications to the Agri-Food Pilot.

The three-year pilot will test an industry-specific approach to help employers in the meat processing, mushroom and greenhouse production, and livestock-raising industries fill ongoing labor needs for full-time, year-round employees. It will provide a pathway to permanent residence for many temporary foreign workers already in Canada.

The occupations and industries eligible under the pilot include:

  • meat product manufacturing:
    • retail butchers;
    • industrial butchers;
    • farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers;
    • food processing labourers;
  • greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production, including mushroom production:
    • farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers;
    • general farm workers;
    • harvesting labourers;
  • animal production, excluding aquaculture:
    • farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers;
    • general farm workers.

A total of 2,750 applications will be accepted annually throughout the pilot, which applies primarily to people who are already in Canada. Existing travel restrictions continue to apply.


“It’s very important that we support our farmers and food processors to make sure they have the workers they need to help strengthen Canada’s food security,” said Mendicino. “Attracting and retaining talented workers is essential to help grow our economy and improve the living standards of all Canadians.

“The Agri-Food Pilot will attract applicants for permanent residence who have worked in Canada, who can economically establish in Canada, and who support the labor needs of farmers and processors.”

Canada is committed to attracting the best talent from around the world through the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) to fill skills shortages, drive local economies, and create and support middle-class jobs in communities across the country that will benefit all Canadians.

The success of our Canadian farmers and food processors depends on their ability to recruit and retain the workforce that they need. This pilot will help to ensure that employers in the agriculture and agri-food sector have much needed skills and labor so we can strengthen Canada’s food security, grow our economy and improve living standards for all of Canada.


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