SASKATOON, May 5, 2014 /CNW/ - While controversy embraces the service
sector's involvement in the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program, a
business alliance of farmers is promoting its success for agriculture.
Farmers of North America (FNA) is a private farm business alliance of
10,000 farmers across Canada.
In October of last year, FNA launched a program working with a
registered recruiting agency and a fully certified immigration
consultant to make it easier for farmers to use the Temporary Foreign
Worker program. The first worker approved under the FNA program landed
recently in Saskatoon.
Vern Schultz, a grain farmer from Unity, Saskatchewan, was pleased to
greet his new employee.
Schultz said trying to get qualified workers on his farm has been a
costly and bureaucratic burden.
"Labour is our biggest hurdle. We've struggled for five years to find
local people to work for us. We put out ads online. We tried the
trainee program and couldn't get someone. Landowners got us through a
pinch but it was a close thing. Dad helped, but he's getting older.
"After awhile, you're exhausted and tired of it."
The TFW program created by FNA removes most of the bureaucratic burden
from farmers, employing professionals to ensure all laws and
regulations are scrupulously followed.
Bob Friesen, FNA's vice president of government relations, said the
public should take reassurance in the TFW program as it operates in
"Our challenge has not been in meeting all requirements faithfully.
Rather, our challenge has been officials who've been subject to media
abuse, going overboard to avoid any hint of criticism. This creates a
situation where, even though our farmer member applicants undertake the
due diligence to ensure domestic help is not available and recognize
this is not about saving money, officials still fear reprisals.
Obviously this is a symptom of the stress being placed on them.
"We applaud the government, however, for trying to manage the program
constructively in the face of all the criticism because it clearly
recognizes that there is a serious labour shortage in some sectors and
regions," Friesen said.
Schultz is happy with the program, saying his experience with FNA's TFW
program has been "really good."
Friesen reports that another 25 workers will be arriving this spring to
help farmers get the crops in and manager their herds with the source
countries being evenly split between the Ukraine and Ireland.
"As we noted when we launched it, FNA's TFW program is not about
undercutting wages or replacing Canadian workers," Friesen explained.
"On the contrary, we are bringing in skilled people farmers would
greatly prefer to find locally. Using the TFW program is not cheap, and
the workers brought in under FNA's program are not low-wage."
Friesen urged farmers to think about their labour needs for the year
ahead and next spring. Planning is needed to ensure adequate time to
complete the process of gaining government approval and recruiting and
evaluating foreign job candidates.
Farmers of North America is a member based farm business alliance with
the single mission of "Maximizing Farm Profitability."
SOURCE: Farmers of North America
For further information:
Bob Friesen, VP Government Relations Tel: (613) 230-2222 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cell: (613) 852-9711 www.fna.ca/TFW