Win-win situation with seasonal worker program

November 27, 2013
Written by FARMS
Nov. 27, 2013, Mississauga, Ont. — The successful labour program that helps Ontario’s fruit and vegetable industry prosper also pays off with significant economic benefits for rural communities, according to the Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (FARMS) program.

During 2013 growing season, the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) helped Ontario farmers hire approximately 15,000 seasonal workers from Mexico and the Caribbean as a supplement to local labour.

Under SAWP, these seasonal workers from Mexico, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad/Tobago and the eastern Caribbean states are able to work in Ontario for a maximum of eight months each year and are guaranteed no less than 240 hours of work. The average length of stay is 20 weeks.

“These workers inject a significant amount of money directly into the local economy, buying consumer goods for their families back home from local businesses, as well as groceries, clothing and other items for themselves while they are working here,” says FARMS president Ken Forth.


The seasonal worker program also supports Ontario’s agricultural industry and economy by enabling farm operations to remain viable in the face of a critical shortage of suitable and available Canadian workers.

“Knowing a reliable source of seasonal workers exists allows farmers to plan for the future, invest in their operations and continue a livelihood that has sometimes been shared by their families for generations,” says Forth.

“Without SAWP, some operations would be forced to stop growing fruits and vegetables altogether, or move into less labour-intensive crops.

As a result, Ontario would lose a vital source of high-quality, healthy food grown locally and a farming tradition that stretches back to the early days of the province’s European settlement would vanish.

Ontario’s rural communities would also be dealt a damaging economic blow. It’s estimated that two jobs for Canadians are created in the agrifood industry for every seasonal agricultural worker employed through SAWP at Ontario farms.
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for more information about (SAWP).


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