Next steps being taken in Primary Agriculture Review

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

September 09, 2019 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada

The agriculture and agri-food industry is a significant contributor to Canada’s economic growth and vitality. The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program is an important tool to support the sector in filling vacant and seasonal positions when qualified Canadians and permanent residents are not available.

Collaboration between the Government of Canada and agriculture employers contributes to the overall success of the TFW Program in addressing the sector’s labour needs and ensuring that workers are protected while they are here. That is why the Government of Canada will engage with employers, workers and other stakeholders on ways to modernize the TFW Program’s Primary Agriculture Stream to address key issues raised during the Primary Agriculture Review, including:

  • simplifying the Primary Agriculture Stream and making it easier for users of the Program to understand their obligations under the Program;
  • examining how to set wages for agriculture workers to allow for increased transparency and more flexibility for employers to offer raises and bonuses to workers; and
  • working with provinces and territories to improve housing for foreign workers to ensure consistency across the country.

Making these changes to modernize how the TFW Program works for agricultural employers and workers will help to ensure that the labour needs of Canada’s evolving agriculture sector are met, while supporting the domestic labour market and protecting foreign workers.


“Our goal is to ensure that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program keeps Canadians first in line for available jobs, is responsive to the needs of the Canadian job market and protects the rights of vulnerable workers. We cannot effectively develop programs without the input of the people who use them. That is why we are working together with our key stakeholders to modernize the TFW Program to meet the evolving labour needs of the agricultural sector.”

-The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

“The success of our farmers and food processors depends on their ability to recruit and retain the workforce they need. Our government is committed to finding solutions to labour challenges and engaging with employers, workers and other stakeholders in the agri-food sector to ensure that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is transparent and effective, and supports the needs of employers and workers in the agriculture and agri-food sector.”

– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Quick facts

  • Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industry is a key driver of economic growth. The agriculture and agri‑food system contributes over $143 billion to Canada’s GDP annually and employed 2.3 million people in Canada in 2018.

  • Canadian agriculture and agri-food exports hit a new record in 2018, reaching $66.2 billion.

  • More than 60 percent of the positions approved under the TFW Program are in primary agriculture.

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