Canada Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program – Know How to Hire a Temporary Worker

The Canada Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) allows employers to employ temporary foreign workers (TFW) when Canadians and permanent residents are unavailable.

These employers may hire TFWs from participating countries between January 1 and December 15 for a maximum of 8 months, provided they can offer the workers a minimum of 240 hours of work in 6 weeks or less.

To be eligible for the SAWP, employers must meet three criteria:

  1. workers must be citizens from participating countries
  2. production must be in specific commodity sectors
  3. work activity must be related to on-farm primary agriculture

Participating countries 

The SAWP applies only to TFWs who are citizens from the following countries:

  • Mexico
  • Caribbean countries of:
    • Anguilla
    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Barbados
    • Dominica
    • Grenada
    • Jamaica
    • Montserrat
    • Kitts-Nevis
    • Lucia
    • Vincent and the Grenadines
    • Trinidad and Tobago

National commodity list

  • Apiary products
  • Fruits, vegetables (including canning/processing of these products if grown on the farm)
  • Mushrooms
  • Flowers
  • Nursery-grown trees including Christmas trees, greenhouses/nurseries
  • Pedigreed canola seed
  • Seed corn
  • Grains
  • Oil seeds
  • Maple syrup
  • Sod
  • Tobacco
  • Bovine
  • Dairy
  • Duck
  • Horse
  • Mink
  • Poultry
  • Sheep
  • Swine

How to apply for the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program? 

The SAWP operates according to bilateral agreements between Canada and the participating countries. Each foreign government has its method of recruiting and selecting employees. The governments of participating countries will:

  • Recruit and choose the workers
  • make sure workers have the essential documentation
  • maintain a pool of qualified workers, and
  • assign representatives to help the workers in Canada

The government of participating countries are also responsible for ensuring that selected workers meet all the requirements of the SAWP. These requirements include being:

  • experienced in farming
  • at least 18 years of age
  • a citizen of one of the participating countries
  • your job in Canada falls under one of the approved categories
  • able to satisfy the:
    • Canadian immigration laws, and
    • laws of the worker’s home country

Pay your application fees

LMIA processing fee does not apply to occupations:

  • related to primary agriculture, and
  • positions under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes 80020, 80021, 82030, 82031, 84120, 85100, 85101 and 85103.

Your fee amount and payment options depend on the location you are applying from. In addition, you may also need to pay a biometric fee.

Employers’ Responsibilities

  1. Employers are responsible for applying for LMIAs and work permits. They also need to take care of any fees associated with these applications.
    • LMIA processing fee does not apply to the following occupations, but employers still need to take care of professional fees, work permit processing fees, etc.
      • related to primary agriculture, and
      • positions under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes 80020, 80021, 82030, 82031, 84120, 85100, 85101 and 85103.
  1. Employers must always arrange and pay for the round-trip transportation of the temporary foreign worker (TFW).
  2. Employers must provide the TFWs with free roundtrip transportation. Employers need to ensure transportation between on-site or off-site accommodations and the workplace.
  3. Employers must provide TFWs with adequate, suitable and affordable housing as defined by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The housing may be located on the farm or off-site.
  4. Employers must provide proof of inspection of the off-site or on-farm accommodation. The appropriate provincial, territorial or municipal authority must conduct the inspection.
  5. Employers must ensure that all TFWs register for provincial/territorial health insurance.
  6. Employers must ensure that the workplace is safe and meets all necessary standards and requirements
  7. Employers must Sign a standard employment contract with each worker
  8. Offering wages in compliance with the wage tables

Working with other employers 

While in Canada, it is possible that you may need to work on more than one farm and have different employers. However, you do not need a new work permit to work for different employers.

Employers can transfer a worker from one farm to another, provided the employer has:

  • the worker’s consent
  • prior written approval from the foreign government representative in Canada
  • prior written approval from ESDC/Service Canada

If you are on an employer-specific work permit, you can only work for the employer listed on your work permit.

Source : CIC NEWS

All content on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or advisory.

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