General Principles For SAWP


GENERAL PRINCIPLES FOR THE SEASONAL AGRICULTURAL WORKER PROGRAM

This program operates on a Canadian First basis, which means, all employment opportunities for seasonal agricultural work in Canada are first made available to qualified Canadian citizens and permanent residents before recourse is made to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP).

GENERAL PRINCIPLES and OPERATIONAL GUIDELINES

The programs will be administered in accordance with the following general principles and operational guidelines:

  1. SAWP workers are to be authorized for employment in agricultural commodity sectors specified under the National List of SAWP Commodities during peak activity periods where the supply of Canadian workers is determined to be inadequate
  2. The programs operate on a seasonal basis; and the term…”Seasonal basis” is understood to refer to both the worker and the work. Workers temporarily admitted to Canada under SAWP be given work terms exceeding 8 months duration. Employers can access SAWP from 01 January to 15 December. It is to be clearly understood, by ALL parties, that every worker is to be repatriated by 15 December.
  3. Caribbean and/or Mexican workers are to be provided with suitable accommodation that meet Provincial / Municipal housing standards, receive the prevailing approved rates of pay for the work involved, and are to be treated in a fair and equitable manner by the farm employers.
1. NEW EMPLOYERS OR ADDITIONAL WORKERS

Employers requesting a higher number of workers than in the previous year will be assessed not only in the working conditions and factors considered in the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process but also in relation to why the increase.

2. TERMS AND CONDITIONS

The terms and conditions, as well as program operations governing SAWP, have been negotiated by the Government of Canada, the government of Mexico, the governments of the participating Caribbean countries, and industry representatives. Employer’s request to participate in SAWP are subject to their acceptance of conditions set out in the employer/employee contract, the context of the LMIA, compliance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations in relation to TFWP and, in some instances, to their payment of a user-fee to F.A.R.M.S. who have been recognized by ESDC / Service Canada to perform an administrative role in program delivery.

3. AGREEMENT FOR EMPLOYMENT IN CANADA

The contract provides for employment of not less than 240 hours in a period of six weeks or less but NOT MORE THAN EIGHT MONTHS. In the case of workers who are transferred to another farm following completion of one contract, the 240 minimum hours of work is cumulative.

4. PERIODS OF EMPLOYMENT

All participating commodities are required to maintain an 8 month or less term of employment within the following period:

01 January to 15 December

5. WAGES

Employers are required to pay the greatest of the following:

  • the minimum agricultural or provincial wage rate;
  • the prevailing SAWP rate as determined by E.S.D.C. / Service Canada;
  • or, the rate being paid by the employer to Canadian workers doing the same work.
6. SELECT COUNTRY

Employers participating in the SAWP are responsible for selecting the source country from one of the four Caribbean countries of Barbados, Eastern Caribbean islands, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, participating in the program or Mexico.

7. REQUESTS FOR FEMALE WORKERS

Although most workers entering Canada under SAWP are male, all countries have requested to supply female seasonal agricultural workers, provided acceptable accommodation arrangements are available.

8. IMMIGRATION and REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT (IRPA) and the IMMIGRATION and REFUGEE PROTECTION REGULATIONS (IRPR)

Effective 26 September 2022 Amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations came into force. The new Amendments will strengthen program integrity and the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process, and address existing gaps in worker protection and employer compliance. The amendments will enhance the compliance regime, worker protection and increase employer awareness about workers’ rights. Cut and paste the following link in your browser to obtain the Temporary Foreign Workers Your Rights
Are Protected – employers must give each worker a copy.

https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/foreign-workers/protected-rights.html

9. RECORD OF EMPLOYMENT (ROE)
Under provincial law every worker you employ is entitled to receive a Record of Employment at the end of their term of employment.

10. T4 SLIPS
Under federal law every worker you employ is required to receive a T4 slip confirming their employment income. In the case of Caribbean workers the T4 is to be mailed to the applicable source country. In the case of Mexico it is the worker’s responsibility to advise the employer of who will be preparing the tax filing in order to mail the T4 slip to that source.