There’s good news and then there’s even better news. Let’s start with the good news; the food manufacturing industry in Canada is big, and getting bigger. Now you might be wondering, how is this good news for me? Well as it so happens, Canada is in need of immigrants to fill vacancies in their labour market, particularly in the food manufacturing industry. In other words, if you are thinking about immigrating to Canada, there are quite literally thousands of jobs in Canada for foreign workers in food production; from harvesters to factory workers to butchers to general farm workers, opportunity is abundant. Let’s move on to the even better news; you can become a permanent resident of Canada working in the food processing industry.
Through specially designed immigration programs such as the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot (AFIP) and the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP), the Immigration and Refugee Council of Canada (IRCC) is looking to fill the gaps in it’s growing labour market by offering permanent residency to it’s dedicated hard working foreign workers in Canada. Let’s take a look at the positions available in the industry and how these immigration programs work.
Food Processing Jobs in Canada
All it takes is a quick online search to see that there are hundreds of thousands of jobs in Canada. The key is finding the right position in the right province that will be most beneficial in your goal of becoming a permanent resident in Canada. The two most important things to applying to become a permanent resident are a valid job offer in an occupation Canada needs filled, and actually being eligible to apply for permanent residency.
Food Processing Jobs
- Machine operator – no specific training is required for these positions as on the job training is often provided, however previous experience can be helpful. Wages vary depending on the level of expertise required to operate the machinery but traditionally are between $13-$22 an hour.
- Food production labourer – from sausage wrappers to mushroom sorters, jobs in various food manufacturing facilities still require a lot of human capital. Wages are around $17 an hour
- Equipment cleaner – Hygiene is very important, especially in countries like Canada with strict health codes and regular visits from health inspectors. Equipment cleaners make around $15 an hour.
- Food processing supervisor – Identifying, evaluating and controlling hazards during the food production process requires accountability and wages reflect that. Supervisors in food production earn an average of $33 an hour.
- Quality control/assurance officer – maintaining and ensuring standards are adhered to is a vital role, especially in the food industry as mistakes can damage companies’ reputations. QA officers typically earn around $24 an hour.
Jobs for Butchers
- Industrial Butcher – dependant on experience, you can earn between $18 and $30 an hour as an industrial butcher in Canada. This is one of the most in-demand occupations at the moment, industrial butchery is a difficult and respected profession not enough Canadians are entering, which is why the IRCC is specifically targeting foreign workers this occupation for permanent residency.
- Retail Butcher – the more glamorous division of the profession, wrapping meats and interfacing with customers is the order of the day. Wages range from $16 to $20 an hour depending on experience and responsibilities.
Farm Workers and Supervisor Jobs
Though not strictly under the food processing sector, these occupations have been included in the AFIP and so they are also worth considering if you are interested in obtaining permanent residency in Canada.
- Farm and livestock supervisor – only a high school qualification is necessary, however experience is the key to earning a good wage in this occupation. Your hourly earning potential will be between $18 and $28 an hour depending on your level of experience and ability. A wholesome and rewarding career as a farm supervisor could be waiting for you in a countryside so beautiful going to work won’t be a job, it will be a pleasure. Bring your experience or start from the bottom as a general worker. In Canada, hard work is noticed and rewarded.
- General Farm Worker – this can also take on the role of harvester. If you secure a job offer as a harvester the key is to get a permanent job, as a lot of offers are seasonal. A good permanent position will pay between $12 and $21 an hour. No qualifications required, but as you will be growing and cultivating crops, qualifications will mean better wages and one step closer to becoming a supervisor.
Your Immigration Options
Once you have a valid job offer and are sure you are eligible to immigrate to Canada, you can begin your immigration application. The Agri-food Immigration Pilot, which launched in June 2020, is a three year program that will invite 2,750 foreign workers who have jobs offers or are working in Canada every year to apply for permanent residency. The applications are processed on a first-come-first-serve basis, so move quickly to avoid disappointment.
|Occupation||Applications accepted for permanent residency|
|Farm supervisor and specialid livestock worker||50|
|Industrial butcher or retail butcher||1,470|
|Food processing worker||730|
|General farm worker||200|
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot was formed by the Canadian Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. The pilot aims to address critical labour shortages in these four beautiful provinces by offering applicants with valid full time job offers or employment permanent residency. In general, you must:
- Have work experience in a job that requires a high school education and/or specific on the job training;
- Have the equivalent of a Canadian high school diploma;
- Score a minimum of 4 on a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) test to show you can communicate effectively in English or French; and
- Show you can support yourself and your family when you come to Canada.