Manitoba Pork Producer Calls for Easing on Accessing Foreign Workers

MANITOBA, CANADA - A farrow-to-finish operator in the Argyle area is calling on government to speed up the process of approving the hiring of foreign workers within the Canadian swine industry, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 23 June 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

In April, members attending Manitoba Pork's annual general meeting in Winnipeg passed a resolution calling on the organisation to explore ways to improve the availability of foreign workers, including the forming of a pool of foreign workers who are ready to come to Canada on short notice.

Cal Penner, an Argyle area farrow-to-finish operator, says the biggest problem faced by employers in the hog industry is the length of time it takes to demonstrate a lack of available domestic workers and then get approval to hire a foreign worker.

Cal Penner - Argyle Area Pork Producer

Our biggest problem is the process of getting the labour market opinion.

To qualify for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program you have to show that you can't find domestic help.

It basically starts where you advertise for the job for a minimum of three weeks and if you have no applicants and you can show this, that you have failed in finding help, but the process of getting the labour market opinion takes up to about ten weeks for approval so you've got maybe two to three months loss there where we're short-staffed even before you can get the approval.

Then the processing of the foreign worker in the other country takes probably another three to four months.

So what we're finding is the whole process, by the time the worker gets here, could be six to eight months and that's an awful long time to be short staffed.

Mr Penner says there seems to be an interest within government in shortening the waiting times for getting the labour market opinion but we need to see that take place fairly quickly.

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