With fall here, the world’s most
successful program connecting seasonal workers with agricultural employers is
Administered by Foreign
Agricultural Resource Management Services (F.A.R.M.S.), the Seasonal
Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) links approximately 15,000 requests for
seasonal workers with jobs at Ontario
farms this growing season.
Not only does the 46-year-old
program provide a long list of benefits to the workers and the farmers, but
also it creates two Canadian jobs in the agrifood industry for every worker
employed through SAWP at Ontario agricultural operations, says Ken Forth,
president of F.A.R.M.S.
“Governments and agricultural
organizations around the world are looking at this program as a model,” Forth says. “For decades, this program has provided
farmers a steady source of reliable labour as a supplement to local labour. At
the same time it gives the seasonal workers well-paying employment, benefits
and educational opportunities not available at home.”
Seasonal workers employed at Ontario farm operations
contracts that guarantee them all the protections and benefits that Canadian
workers receive, including WSIB, certain EI benefits and provincial health care
an hourly wage rate set by Human Resources & Skills Development Canada.The
hourly rate is not less than the provincial minimum wage rate or the local
prevailing rate paid to Canadians doing the same job, whichever is greatest.
up to five times more than they could in their own countries, which enables
them to support their families, educate their children and buy and operate
businesses and farms in their own countries.
Farmers have also realized great
benefits from the program for more than 40 years, enabling them to hire staff
that would otherwise be extremely challenging to find because of the ongoing
shortage of suitable and available local Canadian workers.
farmers pay the highest farm worker wages in North America and face intense
competition from low-wage competitors,” Forth
says. “Without this program, many Ontario
farmers simply couldn’t continue to grow fruits and vegetables. They’d stop
growing altogether or move into less labour-intensive crops.
About the Seasonal Agricultural
More information about Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural
Worker Program (SAWP) can be found at www.farmsontario.ca
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