News | July 25, 2019

Food Processing Skills Canada – Government Of Canada's Immigration Pilot A Positive Step In Addressing Critical Labour Shortages For Meat Processors

Ottawa, ON (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The newly announced federal Agri-Food Immigration Pilot will help to address serious recruitment concerns in Canada’s meat processing facilities. This sector employs nearly 60,000 people across the country in both rural and urban locations. Most of the jobs are predictable, full-time positions with opportunities to progress to higher skilled, higher paying jobs.

The announcement of the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot follows closely behind research led by Food Processing Skills Canada (FPSC) in 2018 on the labour market situation and the challenges faced by meat processors.

The research, which was conducted across 14 regions and included over 400 survey responses and hundreds of interviews, identified specific barriers to growth, namely labour, and provided a series of recommendations.

“Industry from across the country strongly recommended the creation of a special immigration stream for industrial meat cutters focusing on a pathway to permanent residency and advanced standing to those workers who have already worked in Canada through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program,” said Jennefer Griffith, Executive Director, FPSC. “We are pleased to see action taken on these objectives.”

FPSC also plays a leading role in supporting the Canadian meat sector professionalize its workforce with skills training. FPSC has developed the National Occupational Standard and is currently finalizing two levels of certification for Industrial Meat Cutters.

“The Agri-Food Pilot is critical for meat processors. Our members provide year-round, permanent jobs. There’s nothing temporary about our need for a workforce, and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program didn’t work for our members. This pilot gives them a solution,” adds Marie-France MacKinnon, Vice-President Public Affairs, Canadian Meat Council.

It is well known that in communities across Canada, there is simply not a sufficient supply of workers to meet the labour demands of the meat processing industry and this scenario is repeated in other food and beverage manufacturing industry sectors such as bakery and dairy processing. Early findings from FPSC’s latest industry labour market analysis has identified the requirement of 65,000 new workers by 2025 if the overall industry is to achieve targets set by the federal government’s Agri-food Economic Strategy Table Report.

"Canada's food workers' union, UFCW, welcomes the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot. Migrant worker advocates have long called for more pathways to permanent residency and citizenship, and this pilot program is an important step in the right direction. The announced tripartite approach is also important to best ensure that the program is being used responsibly and TFWs are well protected throughout the process." Derek Johnstone, Special Assistant to the UFCW Canada National President

To review details of the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot follow this link and to download FPSC’s Labour Market Information report on Canadian meat and poultry processing, Securing Canada’s Meat Workforce Final Report click here.

About Food Processing Skills Canada

Food Processing Skills Canada is the skills and workforce development organization for food and beverage manufacturers in Canada and around the globe. As a non-profit organization, Food Processing Skills Canada collaborates with governments, industry stakeholders, provincial associations and educators to support food and beverage manufacturers in human resources and workforce development. Flagship programs include Succeeding at Work, Food Skills Library, Food Processors’ Institute and the Food Safety Management Training Program for Newcomers. To learn more visit

About FPSC’s Labour Market Information Initiatives

To identify the scope of human resource challenges for Canadian food processing sectors and to identify best practices which will help employers meet their labour force needs, Food Processing Skills Canada’s has committed to a series of labour market information reports accessible at

Food Processing Skills Canada has received generous support from the food and beverage processing industry and Employment and Social Development Canada.

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Source: Food Processing Skills Canada