Canada is forecasting a labour shortage for agricultural service contractors and farm supervisors over the next eight years, important jobs in ensuring enough food is produced.
The federal Canada jobs hunting and career-planning Job Bank website is forecasting a shortfall of 5,900 of these workers from now to 2031.
”New job openings arising from expansion demand and replacement demand are expected to total 19,800 , while 13,900 new job seekers arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility are expected to be available to fill them,” states Job Bank.
“Although this occupational group has had a balanced market in recent years, projected job openings are expected to be substantially higher to job seekers, creating a shortage of workers over the 2022 – 2031 period.”
With Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announcing earlier this year that Canada’s Express Entry system will begin targeting 82 jobs in healthcare, technology, trades, transport and agriculture this summer – including agricultural services contractors and farm supervisors – foreign nationals hoping to immigrate to Canada are now looking at a new opportunity to get their permanent residence here.
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The flagship Express Entry selection system has previously only conducted draws based on immigration programs, not by targeting specific occupations.
Candidates will need at least six months of continuous work experience in Canada or abroad within the past three years in one of these occupations to be eligible, experience that can have been gained while working in Canada as temporary foreign workers with a work permits or as an international student with a student visa.
The opportunities are certainly there.
There were 173 job listings for agricultural services contractors and farm supervisors, categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system with the code 82030, posted on Job Bank in early June, some of them from employers hoping to hire more than one employee.
The Indeed.ca job-hunting website listed 403 such positions across the country at that time.
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Most of those jobs listed on Job Bank, 70.5 per cent, were in British Columbia’s lush Fraser Valley area and its Interior region as well in Alberta’s farm country. There were 97 such jobs in British Columbia, 25 in Alberta, and another 29 in the central Canadian province of Ontario.
In Canada, the median hourly wage for these jobs is $23 but that varies from a low of $13 per hour right up to $34.62 per hour, reveals Job Bank.
Based on a standard 37.5-hour work week, that would be $67,509 at the upper end of the annual wage scale for agricultural service contractors and farm supervisors in Canada.
Under the changes announced at the end of May, the Express Entry streams, including the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, Federal Skilled Trades (FST) program and Canadian Experience Class (CEC), as well as parts of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) will now be more responsive to labour market needs.
Immigration Minister Opened Up 82 Occupations To Targeted Express Entry Draws
“Everywhere I go, I’ve heard loud and clear from employers across the country who are experiencing chronic labour shortages,” said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.
“These changes to the Express Entry system will ensure that they have the skilled workers they need to grow and succeed. We can also grow our economy and help businesses with labour shortages while also increasing the number of French-proficient candidates to help ensure the vitality of French-speaking communities.”
Canada first signalled its intention to start occupation-specific draws through Express Entry in June last year, when changes were made to the Immigration, Refugee and Protection Act to allow invitations based on occupations and other attributes, such as language ability.
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The majority of Canada’s provinces have been issuing occupation-specific invitations for several years.
Under the changes to the act, the immigration minister is required to consult provinces and territories, members of industry, unions, employers, workers, worker advocacy groups, settlement provider organizations, and immigration researchers and practitioners, before announcing new categories.
IRCC must also report to parliament each year on the categories that were chosen and the reason for the choices.
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) says the number of occupations facing shortages doubled between 2019 and 2021. From 2018 to 2022, federal high skilled admissions accounted for between 34 and 40 per cent of overall French-speaking admissions outside Quebec, which manages its own immigration intake.