Need employees? Consider temporary foreign workers!

Special collaboration of Amélie Richer, Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant - Arimé Inc.

Are you having trouble hiring employees for your sugar bushes? Unfortunately, that’s hardly surprising. Statistics Canada estimates that by 2026, more than 1.4 million positions will need to be filled in Quebec businesses. The current labour shortage is having serious repercussions for all industries. For that reason, hiring temporary foreign workers is becoming a smart and even profitable choice. But what does the process look like? And what do you need to consider?

How do you hire foreign workers, exactly?

Hiring temporary foreign workers (TFWs) is a lengthy administrative process. Before a foreign employee arrives in the country, several different governmental bodies, both federal and provincial, must have given their approval. More specifically, your company will need to receive a positive labour market impact assessment (LMIA) and each of the candidates you want to hire will have to obtain a Quebec acceptance certificate (QAC). After that, the candidates can receive their work permits and start working in your sugar bush.

There are plenty of programs that allow businesses to hire TFWs, but since maple syrup production is considered an agricultural industry, most producers choose the Agricultural Stream. This program allows employers to hire foreign candidates for contracts of up to 24 consecutive months. Many maple syrup producers opt for 8- to 12-month contracts, but it really depends on your needs.

Nelson and Eric, originally from Guatemala, working in the sugar bush

What are the constraints to consider?

Time is an issue for most employers. The process of hiring a foreign worker can take up to 12 months in total for some industries. For maple syrup producers, it usually takes 6 to 8 months from start to finish. That means planning is key to successful TFW hiring!

Once on the job, foreign workers will need support for certain aspects of their stay in Canada. For instance, with the Agricultural Stream, the employer needs to provide compliant, properly
equipped accommodation. This means that at Service Canada’s request, the accommodation must have been inspected by a building inspector who is a member of the Association des inspecteurs en bâtiments du Québec (AIBQ) at the very beginning of the process. In addition, the employer will have to provide transportation between the applicants’ country (or countries) of origin and the work site at the start and end of the contract. They also need to transport the TFWs between their accommodation and the work site. Finally, the workers will need help with administrative procedures so they can get their social insurance numbers (SIN) and Régie d’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) cards.

It’s also important to consider that the foreign worker program doesn’t allow for as much flexibility in employment as hiring a local employee. The job description will need to be followed
closely, workers will only be able to work on the sites described in the application, and the pay will be determined by the provincial government. What’s more, TFWs enjoy the same labour standards as Canadian workers.

The process and the constraints may seem like a headache, but rest assured: with the right guidance, it’s actually a breeze. At Arimé, we are proud to be part of the international hiring and travel process for more than 5,000 temporary foreign workers each year and, above all, to participate in the economic growth of many companies in Quebec, New-Brunswick, and Ontario.

We know the process like the backs of our hands and we have the internal resources to support you from start to finish. We work with an AIBQ member for accommodation inspections, our team is very experienced in putting together applications, and we have partners in Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru. We even have our own travel agency to help companies bring their candidates to Canada and deal with all the hurdles this brings.

So if your business’s growth or operations are hindered by a lack of reliable, diligent employees, consider temporary foreign workers as a sustainable solution. Dare to learn more. Get in touch with our team today!

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