The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program has been around for over 50 years. But the federal government is making it harder for local growers to get the workers they need, and operate effectively.
That's putting access to affordable, locally grown fruits and vegetables at risk. Prices for fresh produce could go up, or growers could switch to less labour intensive crops, making imported fruits and vegetables the norm.
Seasonal Agricultural workers visit for up to eight months during growing season. They leave their homes and families behind, but get paid much more than they would in their home countries.
Many have made it a career, with some seasonal workers having worked for over 15 years through the program. The wages they earn allow them to send their kids to college, buy a house, or build a business in their home country.
For every seasonal worker that visits Canada to work, two more Canadian jobs depend on them.
Whether it's fellow farm operators, or food industry workers processing locally grown fruits and vegetables into grocery-ready products, Canadian workers are at risk if the program doesn't continue.