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Federal program provides pathway to permanent residence for agricultural workers

May 19, 2020  By Greenhouse Canada

The previously announced, federal Agri-Food Pilot program has begun accepting applications, providing a pathway to permanent residence for experienced, non-seasonal workers in specific agricultural industries and occupations, including greenhouse.

The three-year pilot will test an industry-specific approach to help employers in the greenhouse and mushroom production, meat processing, and livestock-raising industries.

A total of 2,750 applications will be accepted annually throughout the pilot, from May 15, 2020 to May 14, 2023, and applies primarily to people who are already in Canada. Existing travel restrictions continue to apply.


Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Note that there are annual limits per eligible occupation. For greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production, including mushroom production, eligible roles are:

      • farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers – 50 applications accepted per year
      • general farm workers – 200 applications accepted per year
      • harvesting labourers – 300 applications accepted per year

Since Quebec establishes its own economic immigration selection under the Canada-Quebec Accord, the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot does not apply there.

To apply for permanent residence under the Agri-Food Pilot, applicants need to have:

The Agri-Food Pilot complements Canada’s existing suite of economic immigration programs, which includes the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, the caregivers pilots, the Global Skills Strategy, a revitalized Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Program.

“It’s very important that we support our farmers and food processors to make sure they have the workers they need to help strengthen Canada’s food security. Attracting and retaining talented workers is essential to help grow our economy and improve the living standards of all Canadians. The Agri-Food Pilot will attract applicants for permanent residence who have worked in Canada, who can economically establish in Canada, and who support the labour needs of farmers and processors,” says Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“This pilot provides an important path to permanent residency to these experienced workers, whom we rely on to feed our country and help grow our economy. Today’s announcement builds on all the work we have done to ensure our farmers and food producers can count on the help of workers, while ensuring their safety,” says Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

The agriculture and agri-food industry is an important contributor to Canada’s economic growth and vitality, supporting 1 in 8 jobs across the country. In 2019, agricultural exports hit a new record, reaching $67 billion.

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