For four months, the coalition of leading Canadian food and beverage manufacturing associations has been advocating for an Emergency Foreign Work Program, to secure relief for the sectors debilitating labour crisis. This past Monday, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, announced a series of unprecedented changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program that will provide immediate relief for Canadian companies.
Yesterday’s release of Budget 2022 included additional announcements that will have a monumental impact on industry and its ability to support Canada’s food supply chain. In particular, these include:
- $29.3M over three years to introduce a Trusted Employer Model that reduces red tape for repeat employers who meet the highest standards for working and living conditions, protections, and wages in high-demand fields. Further details on this program will be announced in the coming year.
- $48.2 million over three years, with $2.8 million in remaining amortization, to implement a new foreign labour program for agriculture and fish processing, tailored to the unique needs of these employers and workers. The program will be regularly reviewed by the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion for its impact on local labour markets to maximize the employment of Canadians and permanent residents and to ensure the program is not negatively impacting wages for Canadians and permanent residents.
- $64.6 million over three years to increase capacity to process employer applications within established service standards.
- $14.6 million in 2022-23, with $3 million in remaining amortization, to make improvements to the quality of employer inspections and hold employers accountable for the treatment of workers.
- Several dedicated measures to help build more resilient and efficient supply chains.
In advance of Budget 2022, industry had been advocating for a suite of changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, including increasing the cap to 30%, prioritizing the processing of applications for the sector, and implementing a Trusted Employer Program. Budget 2022 shows that the needs of Canada’s food and beverage manufacturing sector have been heard, and that companies will have the support they need to continue to feed Canadians. These announcements demonstrate what can be achieved when industry comes together to develop solutions to jointly experienced challenges.
The announcements in Budget 2022 would not have been possible without the support of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, and the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough. Canada’s food and beverage manufacturers thank the Ministers for their advocacy, and for working with the sector to identify measures to address labour challenges. We look forward to continuing to work with the Ministers in the development of long-term strategies.
Food and Beverage Canada
Canadian Meat Council
Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council
Le Conseil de la transformation alimentaire du Québec (CTAQ)
Canadian Produce Marketing Association
Food and Beverage Ontario
Baking Association of Canada
Fisheries Council of Canada
BC Food & Beverage
Food and Beverage Manitoba
Food and Beverage Atlantic
Director of Communications