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Campaigning to protect seasonal worker program

Campaigning to protect seasonal worker program

Ontario growers worry that seasonal worker program changes could put their operations at risk

By Kaitlynn Anderson
Staff Writer

Ontario producers have started a movement to protect the future of their farms.

A team of horticultural industry groups launched a Fairness for Growers campaign in May to emphasize the importance of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) for Ontario’s fruit and vegetable growers.

Many members of the horticultural sector fear that the federal government may implement changes that could harm the integrity of the program, a release said on Tuesday. Some people worry that the feds may scrap the program altogether.

Under new regulations, farmers may struggle to access enough workers to operate their businesses. In turn, Canadians could see fewer local products on their dinner tables.

The changes could put Canadian jobs at risk, too.

Fairness for Growers aims to ensure farmers do not have to deal with these hurdles.

Within the first month of the campaign’s launch, 1,400 Canadians sent letters to their local Members of Parliament through the campaign, the release said.

The federal government created SAWP in 1966 to help farmers fill positions in their operations, as the country faced a “shortage of domestic agricultural workers,” the release said. This year, 1,450 farms in the province will utilize the program. has reached out to Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services for further comment.




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