The labour shortage faced by the entire agri-food sector has been exacerbated by changes to the temporary foreign worker program, according to the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council (CAHRC). Several positions in the sector have been now been classified as low-skilled and therefore ineligible for express entry into Canada.
The new TFW rules were brought in following high profile abuses by the fast-food industry. The new TFW rules forbid employers from hiring temporary foreign workers in areas where the unemployment rate is over six per cent. In other regions, employers cannot have more than 20 per cent of their staff as foreign workers, and this will be further reduced to 10 per cent next year.
Critics of the new TFW rules say the reforms are “overreaching” and greatly hinder the hiring process, particularly in tight job markets such as Manitoba.
The food industry is looking for relaxation to the rules especially through deadline extensions, as many businesses face difficulties in hiring for the low-skilled positions of meat cutters and butchers. Experts say that much of the meat processing is now being exported to the US due to worker shortages, thus stripping Canada of jobs and value-added work.
Statistics from Farm Credit Canada suggests that the new TFW rules have led to an increase in wages in the agricultural sector by 3.4 per cent this year, surpassing the increases in the business economy. As a result profit margins are thinning in the food industry, while prices are on the rise.
The meat industry says it currently has 1,000 job vacancies in their packing plants, but these positions are hard to fill as employers have to compete with the higher-paying energy industry for workers.
Interested employers: Kindly contact us here to receive further information.
Interested candidates: Find out whether you qualify to Canada by completing our free on-line evaluation. We will provide you with our evaluation within 1-2 business days.