Agri-Food Pilot Postponed due to COVID-19

Published on: April 2nd, 2020

Applications for the new Agri-Food Pilot program were set to open this month, but due to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, the Canadian government has made the decision to postpone the program until May.

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The Canadian government is continuing to take every precaution to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. As such, the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot has been rescheduled to start in May instead of March. Applications are expected to open on May 15, 2020, and will continue to be accepted up until May 14, 2023.

Although Canada has recently closed its borders to all non-essential travel, the government has confirmed that it will continue to allow entry to select foreign workers

What is the Agri-Food Pilot?

The pilot program’s mandate is to fill labour shortages in the meat processing, mushroom and greenhouse crop production and livestock raising industries.

In the past, skilled workers in this industry have been offered short-term work permits. The pilot would offer agricultural workers with Canadian job experience and a job offer from a Canadian employer a pathway to Canadian permanent residence.

Spring is the time of year that many foreign workers flock to Canada, primarily from Mexico and the Caribbean. Quebec agriculture alone employs more than 16,000 foreign workers annually. Across the country, there are more than 140,000 foreign workers supporting Canada’s economy. 

Canadian farmers have been growing increasingly concerned as borders begin to shut down. Without the supply of foreign workers, many worried the entire season would be compromised. Recognizing the critical role of foreign workers in the agricultural sector, the federal government made the decision to continue to allow them to enter the country.

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