19 April 2024

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Temporary Foreign Workers Cap Will Destroy Canada’s Farms

Imagine being a farmer in Canada’s agricultural industry and seeing the recent announcement from the federal government. Let me tell you why the new cap on temporary foreign workers (TFWs) threatens not just their livelihoods, but the very foundation of our Canada’s national food supply. You see, when it comes to running a successful farm, having a reliable workforce is absolutely crucial. And for almost all farms in Canada from east to west, that means relying on temporary foreign workers to fill essential roles, especially during peak seasons when the demand for labor is at its highest.

Now, you might wonder why we can’t just hire Canadian workers instead. Believe me, I’d love nothing more than to see that agriculture can employ local talent. But the reality is that there simply aren’t enough Canadians willing to do the demanding and often grueling work that agriculture requires, that also happen to accept a relatively modest wage that a farm can afford, and happen to live in a remote or rural part of this country. That’s where TFWs come in. They’re willing, they’re hardworking, and they’re essential to keeping our farms running smoothly.

During COVID restrictions we saw what a shortage of temporary seasonal workers can do to Canada’s food supply chain. Even many politicians at that time seemed to have panicked over the potential damage done to Canadian farming industry. They seemed to promote a ‘whatever it takes’ attitude to making sure that farms had an adequate workforce available. Now the government has done a total U-turn, not because of public health, but Canada’s housing crisis.

But now, with this new rule limiting companies to only 20% of their workforce being TFWs, it’s throwing a massive wrench into these operations. Imagine trying to run a farm during harvest season with only a fraction of the labor force you need. It’s not just challenging – it’s downright disastrous.

What makes this situation even more frustrating is how it’s different from other immigration-related causes of Canada’s housing crisis. You see, migrant workers don’t contribute to the housing crisis in the same way that international students or other immigrants might. They’re here to work, plain and simple. They don’t come to Canada to buy houses or settle down permanently. They’re here to do a job, support their families back home, and then return when their work is completed for a period which is often just a few months.

So, when policymakers lump TFWs into the same category as other immigrants/migrants and impose arbitrary caps on their numbers, they’re not just hurting farmers – they’re also jeopardizing the integrity of our national food security. Because let’s face it: without a reliable workforce to plant, tend to, and harvest our crops, where will our food come from?

I understand the need for regulations and oversight, but this new rule goes way too far. It’s a one-size-fits-all solution to a problem that requires nuance and understanding. If the government wants to support Canadian agriculture and ensure that we can continue feeding our nation, they need to rethink this cap on TFWs. Our farms, our communities, and our food supply depend on it.