Logo en Global Donate now

Online Database: Working for the abolition of legalized migrant enslavement through information sharing

GlobalChange

Document Details

 

Print and save

Report/Press release

Government of Canada Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program expanded in British Columbia

This document is controversial

Date

2004-05-20

Authors

Government of Canada

Abstract

The Honourable Joe Volpe, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today announced the launch of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) in BC, a successful labour mobility program.

Series title

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Responsible institution

Government of Canada

Full text

KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA - The Honourable Joe Volpe, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today announced the launch of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) in BC, a successful labour mobility program.

"This announcement is exceptionally important for Canadian farmers in BC who depend on a stable labour force," said Minister Volpe. "It will certainly help to address the key issues that the agricultural industry is facing and will enhance Canada's future competitiveness and productivity."

This program allows for the organized movement of foreign workers to meet the temporary seasonal needs of Canadian agricultural producers during peak harvesting and planting periods, when there are traditionally shortages of qualified Canadian workers.

"The BC Agricultural Council believes that the ability to access temporary workers meets a clearly identified need in the agricultural industry," said Steve Thomson, Executive Director, BC Agricultural Council. "This program will enhance the growth and competitiveness of the industry through a supplement to our current local labour supply."

Under the terms of the SAWP, foreign workers receive wages commensurate with those of Canadian workers, employer-paid international transportation, and health and medical benefits, as well as the same labour protection under the law as Canadians.

"This agreement confirms the federal and regional governments' commitment to give BC farmers access to an established federal program, operational in eight provinces, that is designed to address chronic seasonal labour shortages in the agriculture sector," said Michael Wallis, Executive Director of the BC Raspberry Industry Development Council, and spokesperson for the BC berry and vegetable sector.

"There are many benefits to the participants of this program and their families. This demand-driven program is mutually beneficial for both countries, and Mexico is pleased with the rights and protection of its workers," said Hector Romero, Consul General, Consulate General of Mexico in Vancouver.

This project supports the Government of Canada's commitment to ensuring the health of Canada's farm economy and the competitiveness of Canadian farmers in world markets.

For more information, please see the attached backgrounder.

- 30 -

For more information:

Stephanie Lewis
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development
(819) 994-2482

Media Relations
Office Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
(819) 994-5559

BACKGROUNDER

HIRING FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL WORKERS IN CANADA

Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program

The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) allows for the organized entry of foreign workers to work in agricultural labourer occupations in Canada. The SAWP is managed by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) in cooperation with agricultural producers and a number of foreign countries. Under bilateral arrangements reached in 1974 between Canada and Mexico, the demand-driven SAWP responds to requests from employers to offset labour shortfalls.

The program allows for the entry of foreign workers to meet the temporary seasonal needs of Canadian agricultural producers during peak harvesting and planting periods, when there are traditionally shortages of qualified Canadian workers. HRSDC and CIC carefully balance these types of job offers with the employers' comprehensive efforts to hire Canadians and the well-being of the foreign workers in Canada.

More specifically, before being allowed to hire foreign agricultural workers, the employer must demonstrate advertisement and recruitment efforts, and agree to a number of additional requirements that favour the hiring of Canadians. Under the terms of the SAWP, foreign workers receive wages commensurate with those of Canadian workers, employer-paid international airfare, subsidized accommodations, as well as health and medical benefits.

The SAWP currently operates in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and meets the needs of specific agricultural commodity sectors.

It is expected that being able to hire Mexican labourers will allow BC agricultural employers to increase revenues and reduce wasted produce that cannot be harvested if Canadian agricultural workers are not available.

For more information on programs under the Government of Canada's Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, call HRSDC at 1 888 246-7712, or visit our Web site at: http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/epb/lmd/fw/seasagri.shtml.

Links

Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers

Content types

Policy analysis

Target groups

Public awareness

Regulation domains

Housing standards, Migration expenses reimbursement mechanisms, and Determination fair wages and labour shortage

Geographical focuses

British Columbia

Languages

French and English