Canada is extending the Agri-Food Pilot to run until May 14, 2025 as part of measures to fulfill the labour market needs in agri-food sector.
The significance of Canada’s immigration policies on strengthening the food supply was highlighted by Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship while announcing the extension at L’Orignal Packing Ltd, L’Orignal, Ontario.
The pilot, launched in May 2020, helps facilitate the transition of experienced workers in agricultural and food industries to permanent residence in Canada.
The minister said that as the economy is still recovering from COVID-19 pandemic, one of the solutions to maximizing Canada’s potential is supplying the economy with labour.
Canada needs to welcome newcomers to their communities to grow their communities and to provide businesses with the labour they need.
“Farm workers in particular including food processing workers are essential to our ability to carryout planting, harvesting and processing activities, to get food from the farm to our kitchen tables,” said the minister.
He noted that mushroom and green house crop production businesses have reported challenges with filling harvesting and other positions on an all year basis. The livestock industries have also reported labour challenges. Canada needs food processing labour to bring farm products to homes.
L’Orignal Packing shared with the minister during the tour that the company is sourcing products from 95 percent Canadian businesses.
The company is a supply chain helping the community to feed families. The minister learned during a tour of the facility that it had challenges recruiting butchers.
Francis Drouin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food noted the contribution of immigrants who have contributed for generations in agriculture across Canada.
According to the parliamentary secretary, agriculture and agri-food businesses continued to be important to Canada’s success and vitality.
He said demand is growing for the kind of food that Canadian farmers and processes can deliver adding that taking advantage of key opportunities will ensure the sector is competitive, sustainable and resilient.
Christine Bonneau O’Neill, Owner of L’Orignal Packing Ltd, conducted the Minister on a tour of the plant.