Greenhouse growers, Leamington mayor welcome news migrant workers may be able to bring families

The greenhouse industry and the mayor of Leamington are applauding the federal government's plan to extend work permits to family members of temporary foreign workers in the agriculture sector. "We're still not really aware of how the intricacies of it would pan out, but on the surface, it seems to be a good idea," said Joe Sbrocchi, general manager and executive director of Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers.

Sbrocchi says they have to work out details such as how to house the family members, and he doesn't know how many of the greenhouse growers would want to hire family teams. He says more consultation is needed with the federal government to work out issues. Consultation is what the federal government is proposing. 

Earlier this month, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced that the federal government would begin extending open work permits to family members of temporary foreign workers in a temporary two-year measure.

The program would roll out in three stages. The first expected to begin early in the new year with spouses and children in the high-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program being able to apply for an open work permit.

"Consultation with agricultural partners and stakeholders to assess operational feasibility for expanding the measure to family members of agricultural workers" would happen in Phase 3 of the program, according to a news release from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

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