New Immigration Opportunity for Canadian Farmers

Ottawa, January 24 – Today it was announced by Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, that the Government of Canada is launching a new pilot program aimed at attracting and retaining skilled immigrants in Canada’s rural and northern communities. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture, which represents 200,000 farmers and their families across the country, applauds this initiative and the potential it holds to assist the Canadian agriculture sector in beginning to address the sector’s chronic labour shortage.

CFA has specifically communicated to government officials the critical importance of increasing pathways to permanent residency for farm workers and other rural occupations since 2014. In 2014 alone, Canada’s primary agriculture sector faced $1.5 billion in lost sales as a result of 59,000 job vacancies in primary agriculture alone. This figure is expected to nearly double by 2025.

“In order for the Canadian agricultural industry to meet its immense potential and to grow as a globally competitive industry, which benefits all Canadians, the agricultural industry requires access to a robust, skilled labor force across our rural communities to sustain our industry and allow it to flourish,” said Ron Bonnett, President of the CFA.

CFA looks forward to working with its membership to identify those communities where agricultural employers can come together with community associations and other employers to leverage the opportunities this pilot presents.

“Our goal would be to see agricultural employers work with leaders in their community to take advantage of this opportunity to address the permanent, year-round vacancies they face on a long-term basis, while contributing to the vibrancy and prosperity of rural Canada, which continues to evolve alongside their businesses,” said Bonnett.

Canadian farmers across this country believe this pilot demonstrates a clear recognition of the economic importance of rural Canada and the enabling role that immigration can play in leveraging its immense potential for inclusive growth and prosperity, through key sectors like Canadian agriculture.