About 2,000 foreign workers have arrived in Canada in recent weeks and more should be here soon, an official with the National Cattle Feeders Association says.
“There are about 4,000 more that are expected to arrive shortly, so the process is starting to work,” Janice Tranberg, the association’s president and CEO, said during a telephone town hall Wednesday.
Ottawa has made a number of moves on the farm labour front, including offering a program that will pay $1,500 for each foreign worker arriving in Canada to help cover the costs of a mandatory two-week self-isolation period.
The federal government has also revamped its student summer job program, which will now pay all of the wages of students hired on farms and ranches.
“With respect to labour, we understand that there are a number of Canadians looking for employment in agriculture and this is a really good opportunity right now,” Tranberg said.
“But there’s also a need for employees who can be skilled and readily employed — a lot of these people enter Canada through the temporary foreign workers program.”
About 50,000 to 60,000 temporary foreign workers are hired for agriculture and agri-food jobs annually, and there are still about 15,000 vacant jobs, Tranberg said.
— Alexis Kienlen reports for Alberta Farmer from Edmonton.