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Farm & Food Care Ontario warns of scam against potential temporary foreign workers

Farm & Food Care Ontario warns of scam against potential temporary foreign workers

Someone is targeting workers who want to come work on Canadian farms

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

People living abroad have been contacting Farm & Food Care Ontario (FFCO) for help to enter Canada to work.

Between June 2021 and early January 2022, FFCO has exchanged emails with at least 10 different families and individuals indicating they’ve been contacted by an FFCO rep to begin immigration processes which would see them come to Canada to work in the ag sector.

“We had one come in from Syria saying the person had been approached by someone from FFCO who wants $500 to process immigration paperwork so they can come to Canada and work on a farm,” Kelly Daynard, executive director of FFCO, told Farms.com. “We’ve had others say the cost is $5,000 to process the paperwork.”

FFCO doesn’t facilitate immigration paperwork.

The organization even put a warning in Arabic on its website should people from that part of the world try contacting them about immigration.

Arabic warning

All these messages have come from either Syria or Lebanon, Daynard said.

The victims shared the names of the fake FFCO reps, but no other information is available.

“One is a woman named Yara Sader and the other is a man Mohammed John Luay,” Daynard said. “But we don’t have an email address or a phone number. We don’t even know if these are real people.”

Some of the victims of this scam have even sent through paperwork.

And to the untrained eye, it looks legitimate.

Fraudulent contract
A copy of a fradulent contract received by FFCO with names removed.
FFCO photo.

“Aside from major typos, the letterhead says Employment and Social Development Canada’s agricultural stream,” she said. It’s a full employment contract and the legal business name is Farm & Food Care Ontario. And the contact on the form is (FFCO Program Consultant) Bruce Kelly.”

The situation is sad, Daynard said.

Multiple families have expressed disappointment that they won’t be receiving a new start in Canada.

“One email read ‘We were depending on this job and thought it’s our new future. (Mrs. Sader) completely ruined our lives,’” Daynard said. “You feel for these people and it’s just so unfortunate they’re being taken advantage of like that.”


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The Investment Opportunities of Industrial Hemp

Video: The Investment Opportunities of Industrial Hemp

The fledgling U.S. hemp industry is decades behind countries like Canada, France and China, but according to impact investor and this week’s podcast guest, Pierre Berard, it could flourish into a $2.2 billion industry by 2030 and create thousands of jobs.

To reach its potential, what the hemp industry needs most right now, Berard said, is capital investment.

Last month, Berard published a report titled “Seeing the U.S. Industrial Hemp Opportunity — A Pioneering Venture for Investors and Corporations Driven by Environmental, Social and Financial Concerns” in which he lays out the case for investment.

It’s as if Berard, with this report, is waving a giant flag, trying to attract the eyes of investors, saying, “Look over here. Look at all this opportunity.”

Berard likens the burgeoning American hemp industry to a developing country.

“There is no capital. People don’t want to finance. This is too risky. And I was like, OK, this sounds like something for me,” he said.

As an impact investor who manages funds specializing in agro-processing companies, Berard now has his sights set on the U.S. hemp industry, which he believes has great economic value as well as social and environmental benefits.

He spent many years developing investment in the agriculture infrastructure of developing countries in Latin America and Africa, and said the hemp industry feels similar.

“It is very nascent and it is a very fragmented sector. You have pioneers and trailblazers inventing or reinventing the field after 80 years of prohibition,” he said. “So I feel very familiar with this context.”

On this week’s hemp podcast, Berard talks about the report and the opportunities available to investors in the feed, fiber and food sectors of the hemp industry.

Building an industry around an agricultural commodity takes time, he said. According to the report, “The soybean industry took about 50 years to become firmly established, from the first USDA imports in 1898 to the U.S. being the top worldwide producer in the 1950s.”

Berard has a plan to accelerate the growth of the hemp industry and sees a four-pillar approach to attract investment.

First, he said, the foundation of the industry is the relationship between farmers and processors at the local level.

Second, he said the industry needs what he calls a “federating body” that will represent it, foster markets and innovations, and reduce risk for its members and investors.

The third pillar is “collaboration with corporations that aim to secure or diversify their supply chains with sustainable products and enhance their ESG credentials. This will be key to funding the industry and creating markets,” he said.

The fourth pillar is investment. Lots of it. Over $1.6 billion over seven years. This money will come from government, corporations, individual investors, and philanthropic donors.

The 75-page report goes into detail about the hemp industry, its environmental and social impact, and the opportunities available to investors.

Read the report here: Seeing the U.S. Industrial Hemp Opportunity

Also on this episode, we check in with hemp and bison farmer Herb Grove from Brush Mountain Bison in Centre County, PA, where he grew 50 acres of hemp grain. We’ll hear about harvest and dry down and crushing the seed for oil and cake.