Farmers pushing Ottawa to allow more foreign seasonal workers

Agriculture groups want the federal government to allow more producers to hire foreign seasonal employees to work on farms.

"There are some jobs that we can't get Canadians to do," Norm Hall, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, said Wednesday.

See Full Article

"Having enough employees to get the job done in a timely matter makes more money for agriculture."

The federal government already has a program that allows about 20,000 temporary foreign workers to be hired seasonally in Canada for up to eight months each year, but it applies only to the tobacco, livestock, fruit and vegetable sectors. The program is open to workers from Mexico and some Caribbean countries.

Hall's group and other farm organizations such as the Union des Producteurs Agricoles want Ottawa to expand the program to include other commodities such as grain, oilseeds and maple syrup.

Hall said there is a growing shortage of farm hands as older producers retire and younger people leave rural areas or seek other jobs. But farmers who remain on the land are hoping to expand production.

"There are just not enough farm boys left," Hall said. "It would mean getting the crop in on time, getting it sprayed in time and then getting it harvested on time."

Foreign workers hired under the program are limited to basic jobs such as running farm machinery, looking after animals, planting and harvesting.

They can come back to Canada year after year until they reach the program's cumulative limit of 48 months.

Delegates attending the Canadian Federation of Agriculture annual general meeting in Ottawa on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for expansion of the seasonal program.

They also passed resolutions for the federal government to lift the 48-month limit, to make it easier for foreign seasonal workers to change employers and to simplify the application process.

Producers also want to be able to use more foreign seasonal workers in their processing operations.

Hall said the Canadian Federation of Agriculture is to present the resolutions to the Liberal government later this year.

"We are hoping that the minister and the bureaucracy will look on this favourably and enact as much of it as possible," said Hall, who is also a member of the federation's board of directors.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Deciphering Trump's curious comments on Keystone XL pipeline

    Economic CBC News
    In his nearly hour-long speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday morning, U.S. President Trump talked about a lot of things — the media, Obamacare, trade and crime. But he also ventured into pipelines. Source
  • Ontario police looking for 'large quantity' of stolen cheese

    Economic CTV News
    SOUTH WEST OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Ont. - Police in southwestern Ontario are looking for thieves who made off with a lot of cheese. Ontario Provincial Police say the Village Cheese Mill in South West Oxford Township, east of London, Ont. Source
  • Stock prices slide lower despite large profits at big banks

    Economic CBC News
    Canada's benchmark stock index is on track for its worst day of the year as oil prices are lower and financial firms are selling off despite record earnings at some of Canada's biggest banks. The S&P/TSX composite index was off by 260 points to 15,520 in the afternoon. Source
  • TSX tumbles 247 points despite big profits at big banks

    Economic CBC News
    Canada's benchmark stock index is on track for its worst day of the year as oil prices are lower and financial firms are selling off despite record earnings at some of Canada's biggest banks. The S&P/TSX composite index was off by 260 points to 15,520 in the afternoon. Source
  • 'Baycott': Why 'Peeved Beavers' are upset by Ivanka Trump's brand at the Bay

    Economic CTV News
    Armed with distinctive blonde wigs, pursed lips and red power ties, a group of Ontario women are planning to dress up as U.S. President Donald Trump to protest the Hudson’s Bay Co. for carrying Ivanka Trump’s fashion line during two demonstrations in the Toronto area planned for Saturday. Source
  • Nova Scotia tourism sees third consecutive year of growth

    Economic CTV News
    HALIFAX - Nova Scotia says the province's tourism industry continued a steady upswing in fortunes in 2016. It says 2.2 million visitors came to the province -- that's up eight per cent, or about 170,000 more visitors, than in 2015. Source
  • Husky may sell some of its assets in N.L. offshore oil industry: sources

    Economic CBC News
    Canadian oil and gas producer Husky Energy Inc is weighing paring down its stakes in some of its Eastern Canadian offshore assets, in a move that could fetch as much as several billion dollars, people familiar with the talks have told the Reuters news service. Source
  • Cleanup of oil spill in Sask. cost $107M, Husky Energy says

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- Husky Energy says efforts to clean up a major oil pipeline spill last year in Saskatchewan have cost $107 million. About 90,000 litres of heavy crude and diluent leaked into the North Saskatchewan River last July, jeopardizing drinking water supplies for thousands of people downstream. Source
  • Ottawa's deficit hits $14B through first nine months of fiscal year

    Economic CBC News
    The federal government ran a budgetary shortfall of $14 billion over the first nine months of the fiscal year, compared with a $3.2-billion surplus over the same period a year earlier. The Finance Department's monthly fiscal monitor says federal program expenses between April and December rose $16.7 billion, or 8.8 per cent, compared with the same stretch a year ago. Source
  • Uniqlo's new modest line featuring hijabs debuts in Toronto

    Economic CTV News
    A modest-style clothing collection that features hijabs and abayas is making its debut at Canada’s two Uniqlo clothing stores. The clothing collection is by U.K.-born fashion designer Hana Tajima and features 30 items in 81 colours and patterns. Source