Agri-Food Pilot Program Expanded
Toronto — May 19, 2023 — The Government of Canada has announced that they are expanding the Agri-Food Pilot, which will now run until May 14, 2025. Launched in May 2020, the pilot helps facilitate the transition of experienced workers in agricultural and food industries to permanent residence in Canada.
The Ministry also announced the removal of the annual occupational caps, which will provide an opportunity for more eligible candidates to apply. They are also expanding open work permit access to family members of all participants in the Agri-Food Pilot.
An important change is that they are now allowing unions to attest to a candidate’s work experience, as an alternative to employer reference letter. This will allow unions like UFCW Canada to provide direct support for agricultural members to be part of the pilot, reducing barriers and bypassing employers.
National Representative Santiago Escobar spoke on CBC Windsorabout these changes. “This will facilitate access to this program thanks to union representation,” he says. “Our union is supporting members throughout the pilot, which is the only path that agriculture workers have to obtain permanent residency.”
“This program strengths workers, their families, and local communities,” Escobar adds. “Migrant agricultural workers can spend between two years, or even fours years, without seeing their families.” This expansion is an opportunity to change that.