The Federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship has announced the extension of the Agri-Food Pilot.
Sean Fraser says the pilot program is being extended to May 14, 2025 to help meet the longstanding labour needs in the ag sector.
"Our farmers and food processors depend on the steady arrival of foreign workers so that planting, harvesting, and food processing activities can take place throughout the year, and they need our continued support to attract and retain these talented workers. Extending the Agri-Food Pilot helps these sectors find the employees they need, so we can be confident that our food security, economy, and living standards for Canadians across the country will continue to improve and grow."
Keith Currie, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture says one of the most significant challenges facing the agriculture sector in Canada is labour and skills shortages.
Fraser also announced the removal of the limits on how many candidates can apply for a specific occupation under the pilot.
The department is also working on other changes including
- expanding open work permit access to family members of all participants in the Agri-Food Pilot regardless of the participant's job skill level
- allowing unions to attest to a candidate's work experience, as an alternative to employer reference letters
- giving applicants residing in Canada the option to either meet the job offer requirement, including the median wage requirement for the job offer, or the education requirement, including educational credential assessment verification
- accepting work experience gained under an open work permit for vulnerable workers, giving more workers an opportunity to qualify
Currie says the Canadian Federation of Agriculture is happy to see the Agri-Food Pilot extended to 2025.
"We need programs that support the long-term needs of the agrifood sector. We are pleased to see some greater flexibility in the program and look forward to working with the government to ensure farm workers have clear and accessible pathways to permanent residence."