The Canadian Meat Council said it supports the announcement because it will help address labour challenges in the Canadian agri-food sector.
By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com; Photo by Hayffield L on Unsplash
On May 8, 2023, the Honourable Sean Fraser, the federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship announced the extension of the Agri-Food Pilot, a program that helps address labour challenges in the Canadian agri-food sector.
Launched in 2020, the pilot program helps provide a path to permanent residence for experienced workers in the agriculture and agri-food industries. The program has been extended to at least May 14, 2025.
“We are extremely pleased that the Agri-Food Pilot was extended to support meat processors fill job vacancies on a permanent basis,” stated Christopher White, President and Chief Executive Officer for the Canadian Meat Council (CMC). “There is a critical labour shortage impacting Canada’s meat processing industry, with vacancy rates of 20 percent or more. Today’s announced measures help safeguard Canada’s food supply.”
Agriculture and agri-food employers have increased their ongoing advertising efforts with recruitment fairs, retention practices, augmented referral incentives, and more.
Despite increased recruitment and competitive wages, the challenges related to filling job vacancies in meat processing remain critical as Canada’s labour gap widens.
In addition to the extension of the Agri-Food Pilot to 2025, annual occupational caps and the limit on how many candidates can apply for a specific occupation under the pilot have been removed. The changes overall will increase opportunities for more eligible candidates to apply and provide wider support to applicants and their family members in becoming permanent residents.
White said that the CMC supports the efforts being made by the Government of Canada to meet the labour market needs of employers in agri-food industries.
The ability to retain skilled workers is critical to the success of Canadian food processors, and these new initiatives will aid in filling in gaps in Canada’s food supply system.
The Canadian Meat Council represents federally licensed meat packers and meat processors as well as suppliers of goods and services to the meat industry. As an industry association, CMC provides advocacy on behalf of its members and works to secure and improve Canada’s global meat competitiveness. More information is available at www.cmc-cvc.com.