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Pilot program providing permanent residence path for temporary workers begins accepting applications

The three-year pilot will test a program providing a path to permanent residency for temporary foreign workers across different sectors such as greenhouse production.


May 19, 2020
By Fruit and Vegetable

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The Agri-Food Pilot, a pilot program providing a pathway to permanent residence for many temporary foreign workers already in Canada, began accepting applications on May 15, 2020.

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 labour needs for full-time, year-round employees.

A total of 2,750 applications will be accepted annually throughout the pilot, which applies primarily to people who are already in Canada. The Agri-Food Pilot will accept applications from May 15, 2020, to May 14, 2023.

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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

Since Quebec establishes its own economic immigration selection under the Canada-Quebec Accord, the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot does not apply there.

In addition, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) clarifies that 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. 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 labour needs of farmers and processors,” said Marco Mendicino, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, in a released statement.

“This pilot provides an important path to permanent residency to these experienced workers, whom we rely on to feed our country and help grow our economy. Today’s announcement builds on all the work we have done to ensure our farmers and food producers can count on the help of workers, while ensuring their safety,” added Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food.

The Agri-Food Pilot is one of many Canadian economic immigration programs, which includes the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, the caregivers pilots, the Global Skills Strategy, a revitalized Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Program.