Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
The Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program helps Canadian employers to hire TFW for agricultural jobs. An employer can hire a Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) who is from a participating country. Because only countries that come under this program can send their people for employment in Canada. Also, to hire the employer must meet the following terms:
- Firstly, hire a TFW for a max period of 8 months between Jan 1 and Dec 15.
- Secondly, offer 240 hours of work within 6 weeks or less.
- Also, can only hire citizens of Mexico or Caribbean countries participating in the stream.
- Besides, the production must be in a specific commodity sector; and
- The activities should be related to primary agriculture.
List of participating countries in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
- Caribbean countries of:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- St. Kitts-Nevis
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
What is the role of the foreign government in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program?
This program has participating countries that work under a bilateral contract. This agreement lists all the duties of the participating countries which are:
- Selection and hiring of skilled temporary foreign workers.
- Check if the workers have all the necessary papers.
- Record all the data of the qualifying TFWs.
- Appoint officers to help workers in Canada.
- Check that all TFW’s meet the terms of the program;
- Also, workers must be skilled and have experience in farming.
- Besides, all workers must be over the age of 18; and
- Should be a citizen of one of the participating countries; and
- Further, must meet all the terms of Canada immigration laws and laws of their home country.
Terms for applying
Following are the factors that one must meet to qualify for hiring a TFW.
All temporary foreign workers under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program must get transportation by the employer. The employer must pay for the TFW’s round trip transportation. This includes travel tickets to the work location in Canada and back to the country of origin. Apart from British Colombia, other provinces can recover a part of this cost through payroll cuts. Also, the percentage of this cut must be mentioned in the employment contract.
Whenever applicable, the employer must provide for the travel expense of TFW from work location to its residence in Canada.
Provide affordable housing
A TFW must have affordable housing either on-site or off-site. The govt approves the number of workers an employer can keep in a residence. Also, the employer must have sufficient housing facilities for a worker’s stay from the date of arrival until the date of departure.
Ensure health and workplace safety
The TFWP requires all foreign caregivers to have insurance cover. As per the law, employers need to make sure their workers have a govt insurance plan. However, in some provinces, the govt allows employers to choose private insurance plans for TFW’s.
A private insurance plan:
- Must offer equal or more coverage than govt insurance plans.
- Also, all employees must have the same insurance coverage.
Employers need to provide for workers safety while chemicals and pesticides are in use. They must provide for:
- Equipment that will protect workers from the harmful effects of chemicals and pesticides.
- Formal and informal training
- Supervise the work of workers, wherever applicable by law.
TFWs employment contract under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
Under the TFWP, the employer must have an employment contract that is signed by both the employer and the TFW. Because Canada govt at any time can verify the same.
Show proof of valid business and job offer
To hire a foreign worker, show proof of an active and legal business. Also, the job offer must be for a paid, regular, and continuous job. Also, the govt checks for:
- Any criminal record.
- If the employer can fulfil all the terms in the job offer.
- If the employer is giving a service or goods in Canada.
- Also, the job offer given must match the needs of the business.
Wages for TFW in Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
All TFW’s must be paid as per the current wage rate as per their high wage or low wage category. Further, this wage should be equal to or more than the current wage rate set by the govt.
Apply for LMIA
Once an employer meets all the terms of the program they must apply for an LMIA to hire a TFW. After that ESDC/SC will check the LMIA application to:
- Firstly, see if the employer meets the terms of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
- Secondly, check, past and current job offer made from the province/territory.
- Also, check if the job offer is valid.
- Have active involvement in the business relating to the job offer.
- Be able to meet the terms of the job offer.
- Give a job offer to TFW for the profile required by the business.
- The medium of language to do the job must be English or French. If applicable an employer should be able to prove the need for a different language for the job profile.
- Check the impact of the LMIA on the job market.
- Check for the past job offers made.
Furthermore, SC/ESDC will give a positive LMIA after verification. Also, from the date of issue, the positive LMIA will be valid for 6 months. After receiving the LMIA the employer must send a copy to the TFW. Because this will help the TFW to apply to IRCC for a Canada work permit.
TFW can apply for a work permit
After receiving a copy of LMIA, TFW needs to apply for a work permit to IRCC. IRCC will verify the work permit application and if the result is positive then will issue a work permit. Thus, it will allow the TFW to work under an employer as per the job terms. Further, the TFW’s work permit can be valid from Jan 1 to Dec 15 and can not be more than the period of 8 months.