Agricultural Workers – How to Work Temporarily in Canada

Are you thinking about taking a break from your routine and experiencing life on the other side of the world? If you want to work temporarily in Canadas booming agriculture industry, you're in luck. This guide will walk you through working temporarily in Canada as an agricultural worker.

With its vast arable land and thriving agricultural industry, Canada often seeks seasonal workers to assist during peak times. Whether you're an experienced farmer or someone who loves the outdoors and wants to try something new, the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) could be your ticket to a working holiday in Canada.

How to Work Temporarily in Canada as an Agricultural Worker

Seasonal Agricultural Work Program

The Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP)

The Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) allows employers in Canada to hire temporary foreign workers when Canadians and permanent residents are unavailable. These workers come primarily from Mexico and certain Caribbean countries. The program is a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee. While the employer gets the necessary workforce during peak seasons, the workers can earn a livelihood and experience life in Canada.

The SAWP operates on a contractual basis. Workers are contracted for a specific period, typically between two and eight months, although extensions can be made. It's important to note that the SAWP is available only for workers from countries with a bilateral agreement with Canada.

How to Apply to the SAWP

Applying for the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) in Canada can initially seem overwhelming, but breaking it down into steps makes the process more straightforward.

  1. The first step is to ensure you are a citizen of a country participating in the SAWP. This program is open to temporary foreign workers (TFWs) from certain countries, as stipulated in bilateral agreements between Canada and these nations.
  2. The second step is to have prior experience in agricultural work. The SAWP is designed for individuals who have a background in farming or similar industries, ensuring they have the skills required for the jobs they will be performing.
  3. Once you've established your eligibility, the next step is to apply through your home country's ministry or department of labor. This government body will guide you through the application process, ensuring you meet all the requirements and submit all necessary documentation. This includes helping you fill out the work permit application form, which requires specific information like the National Occupational Classification (NOC) number for your job title.
  4. Your potential employer in Canada also has a role to play in your application. They must request authorization from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to hire you for each season. This is part of Canada's efforts to ensure Canadians and permanent residents fill jobs before turning to TFWs.
  5. After your application is submitted and approved, you can be employed for a maximum of eight months between January 1 and December 15. Remember that you will have to repeat the application process each year as your employer must request ESDC's authorization to hire you for each season.

Please remember that the process may vary slightly depending on your home country, so you must check with your local labor ministry or department for specific instructions.

A Canada Working Holiday Visa

A Canada Working Holiday Visa is another excellent opportunity for agricultural workers intending to work and travel in Canada. This visa allows young people from participating countries to work in Canada for up to two years. Unlike the SAWP, the Working Holiday Visa is not tied to a specific employer, allowing you the freedom to travel and work anywhere in Canada.

To apply for a Canada Working Holiday Visa, check if your country has a bilateral youth mobility agreement with Canada. Then, you can create an account on the Government of Canada's official immigration website and enter the pool for the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. You'll receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for a work permit if you're lucky. Learn more about Canada's Working Holiday Visa.

A Temporary Canada Work Permit

A Temporary Canada Work Permit is another option for agricultural workers. This permit allows foreign workers to work in Canada for a specific employer in a particular location for a predetermined period. The employer must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before hiring a foreign worker.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is designed to fill in labor shortages in Canada. Under the TFWP, employers can hire foreign workers for a specific period. The work permit duration usually aligns with the length of the job offer. The TFWP helps Canadian employers hire the foreign talent they need while ensuring that these foreign workers get the rights and protections they deserve to be safely employed in Canada. Outside of the SAWP, the TFWP has three most beneficial streams to agricultural workers:  the Agriculture Worker Stream and the Stream for high-wage positions.

The International Mobility Program

The International Mobility Program (IMP) allows employers to hire or transfer foreign workers without needing an LMIA. The IMP mainly benefits agricultural workers as they can avoid the lengthy and complicated LMIA process. The IMP allows employers to hire or transfer foreign workers without needing an LMIA. The IMP mainly benefits agricultural workers as they can avoid the lengthy and complicated LMIA process. The IMP is significantly larger than the TFWP, with more than twice as many IMP work permits as TFWP work permits coming into effect each year.

To apply for a Canada Work Permit, you must first have a job offer from a Canadian employer. The employer must also provide you with a copy of the positive LMIA or the offer of employment number for LMIA-exempt jobs. Once you have these, you can apply for your work permit.

Learn more about how to apply for a Canada Work Permit.

The Importance of Agriculture and Farming in Canada

Farming in Canada

Agriculture and farming play a crucial role in Canada's economy and are a significant source of employment. Canada is one of the world's largest agricultural producers and exporters, and the industry contributes significantly to the country's GDP. With the ongoing demand for farm products, the need for agricultural workers remains high. Learn more about agriculture in Canada.

The future of agricultural work in Canada looks bright. With technological advancements and the introduction of smart farming, the industry is set to grow even further. Moreover, the Canadian government's commitment to attracting foreign workers ensures that opportunities for agricultural workers will continue to expand.

 With multiple pathways available, you can choose the one that best fits your needs and goals. Remember, planning and research are the keys to a successful work and travel experience in Canada. So start exploring your options today and prepare for an unforgettable Canadian journey.


Work in Canada

Do I Need to Know English or French to Work in Canada?

While it's not a strict requirement for all agricultural jobs, knowing one of Canada's official languages can significantly enhance your experience and opportunities. Learn more about Canada's language requirements.

What are my Rights as a Worker in Canada?

In Canada, foreign workers are protected by the same laws as Canadian workers. This includes minimum wage, work hours, overtime, and workplace safety. Learn more about Workers' Rights in Canada.