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Where to find the Best Agricultural Jobs in Canada

Agriculture is and will always remain one of Canada’s biggest industries.

There is a widening gap between the labor requirements and the domestic workforce in Canada for the agriculture sector, this gap has created untold challenges for this very essential part of Canada’s economy for many years now. This article will aim at discussing where to find the best agricultural jobs in Canada.

Canada’s agriculture sector comprises 11 main agricultural industries, these are:

  • Apiculture
  • Aquaculture
  • Beef and Dairy
  • Field fruit and vegetable
  • Grain and oilseed
  • Greenhouse
  • Nursery and floriculture
  • Poultry and egg
  • Sheep and goat
  • Swine
  • Tree fruit and vine

Labour Market Forecast

Without an adequate labor supply for this thriving primary sector, the whole agri-food value chain is at risk. The greatest area of concern to agri-food employers and sector stakeholders is the consistent lack of workers, particularly workers with the right skills located in the vicinity where agricultural jobs are located.

Agriculture is and will always remain one of Canada’s biggest industries. Despite the fact that a lot of processes are being mechanized, however, there will always be jobs that will need the labor of farmhands. So, therefore, how and where will you find the best agricultural jobs in Canada in 2021?

You may be surprised to know that despite that there are very many grains and legume farmland in central provinces of Canada, which are the most automated kinds of farming. The fruit industry is where a lot of opportunities abound for you at the right time of year.

Fruits like; Apricots, grapes, strawberries, cherries, apples, and peaches are very common in Canada, therefore, the fruits industry requires heavy assistance of manual labor.

Where to Find a Job on a Farm in Canada

British Columbia

British Columbia’s Kootenay and Okanagan Valleys located on the west coast of Canada have high fruit harvests between July to October each year.

Therefore, there are preparations to be done before the harvest, starting early in April. If you are found to be competent, hardworking, and initiative, you may be able to secure a permanent offer.

Securing permanent employment on a farm may grant you eligibility for permanent residency through the Agri-food Pilot. This new immigration program launched in May 2020 has not been able to hit its maximum potential because of the global pandemic.

Nevertheless, the 2021 harvest is just around the corner with a lot of agriculture jobs in Canada opening up. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will be eager to fill all permanent residency slots as quickly as possible.

There is an opportunity for your family to join you in Canada under the Agri-food Pilot Program. Occupation categories and a number of applicant spaces available are:

See Table Below
Annual Limits
Occupation Number of applications accepted per year
Farm supervisor or specialized livestock worker 50
Industrial butcher or retail butcher 1,470
Food processing laborer 730
General farm worker 200
Harvesting laborer 300

The potential wages you will receive will vary depending on the farm or ranch you are employed on,  the hours of work you put in per day, and your general productivity.

Thus, harvesters and pickers make between $50 and $185 per day. Fruit picking is paid as piecework, nevertheless, you must be cautious to always handle fruits with care as you will not be paid for damaged fruit, or may even be penalized.

Ontario

Farmworkers have plenty of seasonal and permanent work opportunities in Ontario, particularly during the spring and summer months.

The province of Ontario is also home to 2/3 of Canada’s greenhouse vegetable production, which also operates almost all year round.

Moreover, food processing workers as stated earlier in the Agri-food pilot program are highly sort after and have made the list by the IRCC as one of the most in-demand semi-skilled level work positions in Canada.

Common greenhouse crops such as; carrots, mushrooms, sweetcorn, green peas, and tomatoes are available almost all year round and require continuous labor hands.

Some crops have even been forced to shrink over the last five years because of the simple fact that there are not enough labor hands and the necessary processing facilities, this, the IRCC is attempting to fix by assisting foreign food processing workers who have permanent job offers to become permanent residents of Canada.

Alberta

The whole east side of the Albertan province is bordered by the Canadian Rocky Mountains, which extends and makes way to prairie as you head west. This alternating landscape allows the province to have a much greater agricultural diversity.

Thus, there are positions available for farm foremen, supervisors, grazers, herdsmen, feed truck operators, with all number of livestock farming in-demand positions.

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How to Work on a Farm in Canada

What is the first step to secure an offer of employment in Canada? The first is to get your foot in the door, thereafter, you can begin to acquire all important Canadian work experience necessary. Your Canadian job search may begin by searching on popular job sites such as:

  • LinkedIn
  • Indeed
  • Glassdoor

It suffices more chances to also consider using job sites geared more towards foreign workers and those specifically for agricultural job seekers:

The next step to take will be getting a work permit. With your job offer, you can make an application for an employer-specific work permit.

Should you be eligible and successfully obtain a work permit, you will only be permitted to work for the employer as stated on your permit.

This, however, doesn’t imply that you can not accept another job offer when the current one draws to a close, it only means you will have to make an application for a new work permit.

There is no shortage of jobs in Canada especially for farmworkers, if you have decided about living in Canada permanently, there are many ways that you can immigrate to Canada as a farmworker.

Thinking more along the lines of traveling through Canada this summer while working short-term jobs to help cover your costs? You should consider the IEC working holiday visa.

This special program open to 18 – 35 years of age offers successful applicants an open work permit for seasonal jobs and it’s valid for not more than two years. However, you are not allowed to have dependents with you under this program.

Ready to Work in Canada?

2021, will present a lot of opportunities for foreign farm workers who will be looking to either work in Canada for work experience or start a new life. Many job-seeking platforms where you will find the best agricultural jobs in Canada in 2021 are available as mentioned above.

A very important thing that will happen is that after gaining some valuable work experience, you and your dependents will be opportune to become permanent residents of Canada.

The agriculture sector in Canada faces some unique combination of labor challenges:

  • The Agric sector has the second-highest turnover rate of any sector in Canada; in 2014, the estimated voluntary turnover rate was 18.3%, which more than doubled the average voluntary turnover rate of 7.3% in all sectors in Canada.
  • Inability to recruit and retain workers is fostered by issues such as seasonality and variableness in hours, the rural siting of many agricultural operations, high competition with other sectors for workers, the physical and mostly manual nature of the work, and lack of workers with the appropriate skills set and experience.
  • Canada has an older than average agricultural workforce, which is predicted to reduce the size of the agricultural workforce soon. 93,000 workers or 27% of the total workforce is expected to retire between 2014 and 2025.

Widening Labour Gap of Canada’s Agriculture Sector

Almost all provinces except Alberta and Saskatchewan are forecasted to see a dwindling number of young people from 2014 – 2025, not less than 300 fewer young workers, however, are expected to enter the agricultural workforce per year.

The challenge is significant, and therefore, requires a directed and coordinated effort on the part of government ministries, agricultural employers, educational institutions, sector councils, with other
stakeholders.

Key Solution Areas Identified by Industry Stakeholders

The following recommendations are made through the Workforce Action Plan:

  • The need to improve access to foreign workers to augment the dwindling domestic workforce, therefore, enabling employers to meet the labor requirements of very seasonal operations.
  • Attract many more domestic nationals by promoting the vast arrays of agricultural jobs available across Canada and making the career pathways to job seekers, students, and educators clear and unambiguous
  • Promote more awareness of agriculture careers and enhance the recruitment process and retention efforts with a coordinated career advancement with training tools for job seekers, students, and educators.
  • Improve the availability and accessibility of learning options to enhance worker knowledge and skills, particularly in rural and remote areas where agricultural businesses tend to be located.
  • Equate training resources with workplace needs, thus fostering continuous improvement, in addition to providing on-the-job training requirements so as to ensure that today’s students are able to meet tomorrow’s needs.
  • Technical and knowledge support should be provided to managers and supervisors, in addition to the training required in order to enhance recruitment, employment, and retention efforts, thereby, improving the human resource management of the sector.

As of 2014, the agriculture sector in Canada was not able to fill 26,400 jobs, despite employing 2.3 million Canadians the same year, thereby costing an estimated $1.5 billion, or 2.7% of a sales shortfall. According to the survey, of the 41% of agricultural producers who could not find enough workers:

  • 56% experienced production delays
  • 55% experienced production losses
  • 46% experienced lost sales

Therefore, without foreign labor, 59,000 jobs would be at risk, which is equivalent to 7% of the labor force. By 2025, however, the agriculture sector will have 114,000 more jobs than can be filled by the domestic labor force.

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