According to the Calgary Herald, the Government of Canada has announced plans for a new pilot program aimed at addressing acute labour shortages in the agricultural sector of the province of Alberta. This is what was reported so far by the Calgary Herald regarding the new pilot program for agricultural workers, including meat packers in Alberta.
Industry experts say that the pilot program would go a long way in helping alleviate the shortage of meat packers in Alberta.
The details of the new pilot program has not been formally announced, but the newly released federal budget includes a pledge to launch a new three-year immigration pilot program to bring in foreign workers to do the job.
The most important part of the pledge? The new immigration pilot program will allow foreign workers to apply for PERMANENT RESIDENCY.
According to the Calgary Herald, the newly released federal budget was established to specifically “meet Canada’s ambitious export targets and attract and retain needed labour.”
The new immigration pilot program will be open for foreign workers on a full-time basis. Unlike seasonal agricultural workers, foreign workers under this new immigration pilot program will be allowed to apply for permanent residency.
The Canadian agricultural sector, especially meat processing facilities, has been experiencing acute labour shortages for many years now, limiting Canada’s capacity to meet domestic as well as international market demands.
The Government of Canada has established new trade agreements with international partners, opening new markets for Canadian agricultural products, but there are concerns that the lack of labour is standing in the way of growth.
In a study conducted by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council, there are almost 1,500 vacancies in meat processing plants across Canada.
Despite their best efforts, the agricultural sector is having difficulty finding local workers in Canada. In previous years, Canadian agricultural companies have used the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) to bring in additional labour.
When the Government of Canada changed the rules in 2014, it not only became harder for Canadian employers to hire foreign workers, but it also became harder for foreign workers to transition from the TFWP to be able to apply for permanent residency.
The agricultural sector is hoping to bring in 2,750 foreign workers under the new immigration pilot program.
Industry experts say that the additional workers that will be made available through the new immigration pilot program will go a long way towards increasing capacity to meet domestic demand.
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