SAWP/Agricultural Stream Comparison


Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) Ag Stream (Low Skill)
Who can Apply? Any employer who is part of an approved agricultural commodity sector can apply for temporary foreign workers. Each application is assessed individually by Service Canada.  Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has final authority.
What countries participate? Prescribed countries only:  Barbados, Eastern Caribbean, Jamaica, Mexico, and Trinidad & Tobago. Employers can apply to any country. F.A.R.M.S. administers only for Barbados, Eastern Caribbean, Jamaica, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago, Guatemala and Honduras.
Employment Contracts  Agreements are standard and outline agreed upon responsibilities of the employer / employee.  The Source Country Government, employer, temporary foreign workers and the Canadian Government are parties to the agreement. Agreement is not standard.  Each employer is responsible for the agreement according to program guidelines.  The agreement is between the employer and the temporary foreign worker. It is approved by Service Canada.
Who is responsible to recruit workers? Source countries are responsible to recruit temporary foreign workers and station a Government Agent (Liaison Office) in Canada. Employer is responsible for the recruitment and selection of temporary foreign workers.
Who sets the wage rates? Employer must pay: a) the minimum wage in the province the worker is employed, b) the wage rate determined annually by ESDC, or c) the wage rate paid by the employer to the regular seasonal work force performing the same agricultural work, whichever is greatest. Employers must satisfy Service Canada that wages are at the prevailing rate for persons performing the same job.
Where do the names come from? Employers can request named or unnamed temporary foreign workers.  Source Country has final decision. Employers select temporary foreign workers and provide the worker name, birthdate, residence, and citizenship.
What is the period of employment? Temporary foreign workers work a maximum of 8 months between January 1 and December 15. Workers are guaranteed at least 240 hours of work. Employer may be allowed to hire a temporary foreign worker, upon approval for the initial labour market opinion, for up to a maximum of 24 months. Employer can apply to Service Canada and IRCC to renew for another term while workers are still in Canada.
Housing Requirements Inspected annually by the local Ministry of Health, approved accommodations are provided by employers with no cost to the temporary foreign workers. Employers are not required to provide accommodations however they must demonstrate that suitable (Ministry of Health approved) and affordable accommodation is available.

Accommodations provided by employers must be approved by the Ministry of Health.  Housing recovery based on guidelines as approved by Service Canada.

Recoverable costs Caribbean and Mexico recoverable cost for airfare up to 50% of the established airfare each year to a maximum amount. Other recoverable cost (utility cost) deduction of $2.36 per worker per working day. There is no provision for a recovery of airfare costs.
Non-Recoverable Costs F.A.R.M.S. Administration Fee is $45.00 plus HST per worker arrival/transfer. F.A.R.M.S. Administration Fee is $50.00 plus HST per worker arrival.
Medical Coverage Medical coverage provided through provincial health schemes and private coverage taken out by source country.

Workers are covered from first day.

Employers are required to purchase comparable health coverage until employees are eligible for provincial health coverage

(3 month waiting period).

Temporary Foreign Worker Taxes? Standard deductions – Tax guide for SAWP workers in place.  Caribbean government agents provide tax filing, Mexican workers must choose their own tax provider. Standard deductions – temporary foreign workers are responsible for their own tax filing.
Contract Compliance Applicable Ministry of Labour standards apply.

Government agent monitors contract compliance.  Employer or Government agent can refer problematic cases to Service Canada Integrity branch.

Appropriate Ministry of Labour standards apply.  Problems must be worked out between the employer and employee.
Breach of Contract Temporary foreign worker repatriation is possible according to agreement – replacement workers can be requested. If temporary foreign worker returns to source country, goes AWOL or is not suitable, employer is responsible for cost of return airfare and must apply to ESDC with a new labour market opinion application for another temporary foreign worker.
When can I get my temporary foreign worker? Temporary foreign workers arrive within 4 – 6 weeks once LMIA is approved. Processing of temporary foreign worker application will vary and is dependent upon meeting the confirmation requirements of Service Canada and processing standards of a Canadian Visa Office / IRCC.
Who pays the Immigration Visa Fee? Immigration Work Visa Application Processing Fee is paid by the temporary foreign worker. Immigration Work Visa Application Processing Fee is paid by the temporary foreign worker.
Can I transfer my temporary foreign worker to another farm? Worker transfer requires approval of Foreign Government Liaison Officer, both sending and receiving employers, Service Canada (LMIA is required), and the temporary foreign worker. A temporary foreign worker can work for a new employer provided the worker agrees.  The employer applies and receives a positive LMIA from Service Canada.  The temporary foreign worker must then apply for a work permit specific to the new employer.  All of the preceding steps must be filled prior to a temporary foreign worker beginning employment with a new employer.
What is the employer responsible for? If Service Canada office at the airport cannot issue the SIN, employer must take worker to a Service Canada office. Employer is responsible to ensure the temporary foreign worker receives OHIP coverage and receives proper medical attention. Arrangements to meet or have agent meet the temporary foreign worker at place of arrival in Canada and upon completion of employment, transport worker to place of departure at no cost to the worker. Employer responsibilities include assisting the temporary foreign worker to obtain a Social Insurance Number, purchase comparable health coverage until employees are eligible for provincial health coverage, and receives proper medical attention. Arrangements to meet the temporary foreign worker at place of arrival and upon completion of employment to transport the temporary foreign worker to place of departure at no cost to the temporary foreign worker.
Administrative Function? Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (F.A.R.M.S.) a not for profit organization facilitates and coordinates processing of orders. Service Canada administers this program.  The program was designed to allow the employer to manage the administration themselves.
Air Travel? F.A.R.M.S. appoints CanAg Travel as the agent for the SAWP.  Airfare is paid by the employer and a portion can be recovered from employee as per the Employment Agreement Employer arranges.  Employer is responsible for roundtrip airfare regardless of reason or time of departure.  There is no provision for recovery of costs.