Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen, Launches the Agri-food Immigration Pilot

July 12, 2019 – Mississauga – 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.

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.

The agriculture and agri-food industry are important contributors 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.

Minister Hussen noted, “They need people such as retail and industrial butchers. They need people like farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers and labourers who have worked in food processing or harvesting. Currently, this sector employs many temporary foreign workers who already are in our communities, are attached to Canada and would like to become permanent residents.”

This immigration pilot will offer these individuals a path to permanent residency in Canada so that those who come and remain in Canada, and contribute to the economy, can do so on a long-term basis.

To be eligible to participate in this immigration pilot program, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  1. They must have 12 months of full time non-seasonal Canadian work experience in the temporary foreign worker program in the previous three years;
  2. They must be employed in establishments primarily engaged in processing meat products, raising livestock or growing mushrooms or greenhouse crops;
  3. They must achieve Canadian language benchmark four and demonstrate high school level Canadian equivalent or grade 8 education,
  4. and they must have a job offer for full -time non-seasonal work.

The ministry expects this pilot program to attract 2,750 principal applicants, plus their families, every single year for a total of over 16,000 people in the three-year lifetime of the pilot program.

Quick facts

  • 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.

Press Release/