BUSINESS

Temporary Foreign Worker Program Too Bureaucratic, Say Quebec Farmers

11/05/2014 07:10 EST | Updated 01/05/2015 05:59 EST
CP
A group representing Quebec agriculture workers says some farms risk shutting down because of the bureaucracy surrounding the temporary foreign workers program.

FERME, an organization that represents 800 farms and 8,000 agriculture workers, claims the lack of workers has directly contributed to the loss of $53.7 million for Quebec farmers in the 2013-2014 season.

The agriculture industry was exempt from sweeping changes made to the temporary foreign worker program in June of this year.

However, FERME takes issue with the amount of red tape surrounding the program. The group said because the program has changed so frequently, it has been an unreliable source of labour for this year’s farming season.

More than 150 workers were unable to come to Quebec farms because of visa problems.

Denis Hamel, director of FERME, said farmers feel the impact of bureaucratic delays.

"Asparagus can grow within a day. So imagine a worker coming in three weeks after the beginning of the season. All the growth will be lost. In fact, one of our members lost half-a-million dollars because his workers arrived three weeks later.”

FERME is calling on all levels of government to cut red tape to access temporary foreign workers.

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