What we have been proposing for several years and we think that it will materialize for next season is what we call the Trust Employer.
-Fernando Borja, CEO of Ferme Québec
We are in summer in Canada, and the alarmist comments by businessmen and farmers in the media about the lack of foreign workers is alarming for some, catastrophic for others.
Entrepreneurs of Quebec propose a solution to the Canadian government, which in principle was well received.
According to the data collected, Quebec will have to find 1.4 million workers in 2024. Photo: Radio-Canada
A disaster threatens agricultural producers in Quebec if they fail to bring the foreign workers needed for crops to the province, says Fernando Borja, CEO of Ferme Québec.
“This year, like every year now, we are expecting 15,000 workers, mostly from Mexico and Guatemala, some from the Caribbean and Honduras.”
A summer that is problematic
Year after year the procedures for hiring foreign temporary workers get longer, more complicated and tedious, says the CEO of Ferme Québec, which leads to delays in the treatment of some components of the temporary Foreign Workers Program.
Ferme Québec is a non-profit organization whose job is to organize and coordinate all aspects related to the hiring of temporary foreign workers (administration, logistics, counseling, etc.). This organization provides services not only to the agricultural sector but to other sectors of activity.
That is, it has a global vision of the problems surrounding the lack of labor ..
There is another problem that is added explains Borja. The volume of requests that governments receive increases simultaneously with the shortage of labor.”That generates a delay in the analysis of an application that, 20 years ago, took a week to complete. Today for a worker to come, we have to start the whole process about 6 months before he arrives at the farm. “
The proposal to solve the problem
Fernando Borja says that the search for solutions paid off. And what they found is already on the discussion table with Immigration Canada. Although he is prudent in his prognosis.
“We are working together with the governments of Quebec and Canada, we are part of many working groups, of meetings with the leaders of both governments, especially with the federal government that is responsible for the program, and what we have been proposing for several years. years and we think that it will materialize for next season is what we call the Trust Employer.Trust Employer
It is a person who has been making the same request for years for the same period and for the same workers who always respected the rules of the program and the rights of the workers. That is why you should have a facility in your application for the following year.
Fernando Borja, general director of Ferme Québec.
Why restart the analysis every time when the employer has always respected their obligations? What they ask the government then is to simplify the process.
So that when these employers submit the application, it is analyzed quickly since the same request was made in previous years.
This would also facilitate and allow governments to focus on new applications and to investigate companies to make sure everything works as it should. “
Good reception from the government
The Canadian government was favorable to that proposal and said it is looking for a way to make it work.”We are in the stage to determine who is considered a Trusted Employer, after how many years of working with the program can be considered trustworthy. If everything goes well we hope that by 2020 we can have that facility. “
An endemic problem
The problem of the lack of manpower increases year after year and for various reasons, explains Borja, among them the climatic ones.
The climate plays against farmers and entrepreneurs, the seasons are getting longer.
Before there were students available to finish the harvest, today there are strawberries of autumn whose cultivation goes until the end of October, when the students already returned two months ago to the schools.
The methods of agriculture are adjusted, labor is increasingly scarce. There are not enough people in Quebec to do the work either.”Now we are going to have problems with the people who work very happy in the farms but who already think about retiring, they are people with 30 years in the company. They have to be replaced but there is not enough local labor. So yes, it’s a very important problem in Quebec. ”
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