Food workers’ union welcomes Canadian Agri-food Pilot

Food workers’ union welcomes Canadian Agri-food Pilot


Today, I am pleased to announce the launch
of the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot Program. A new federal immigration pilot program to
address this labour force challenge and shortage in the agri-food and agricultural sector. The agri-food and agriculture businesses contribute
so much to our economy, over $100 billion every year – one of eight jobs in our country,
and exporting more than $59 billion worth of foods to the world. Employers in this sector have recently told
us that they are struggling to attract and retain the much needed labour and skills that
they need to grow their businesses, and one of the ways to deal with that challenge is
to use immigration to deal with the labour market shortages in this industry. By bringing immigrants with the necessary
skills and the desires and the hard work necessary to succeed, we are helping them to meet this
challenge. Today is a great day. This pilot means a lot
for meat processors and we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for a collaboration between the
government and the industry and UFCW, working so closely together. It’s been a long road
to get here and this announcement today is extremely important for our sector. Our labour
shortage has been so huge and so significant, and today gives hope to our members and meat
processors to really be able to secure our workforce. These temporary foreign workers deserve
a chance to become permanent residents and today’s announcement gives them that hope
and gives our members an ability to secure a workforce. I, myself came as a temporary foreign worker
back in 2005 to work at Maple Leaf Foods in Brandon, Manitoba, and my union, UFCW Local
832, worked with the company very hard to help me through the settlement process and
I can say now that my integration into the country was a success. I’m still here, 14
years later, I am a happy Canadian citizen now. It’s a great announcement made today. We represent
many core industries in the meat sector. Statistics clearly show that for every one permanent
residency job created, there are four Canadian jobs as a result of that one TFW becoming
a permanent resident. We’ve been approached by numerous employers that we represent, telling
us how difficult it is finding workers or employees. This is a great announcement that
is certainly going to support our core meat industries.

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