Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Touting Canada's seasonal ag worker program


Press release from Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services



TORONTO, CANADA– The world’s most successful program connecting seasonal workers with agricultural employers has kicked into high gear.
Administered by Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (F.A.R.M.S.), the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) links approximately 16,000 requests for seasonal workers with jobs at Ontario farms this growing season.
Not only does the 49-year-old program provide a long list of benefits to the workers and the farmers, but also it creates two Canadian jobs in the agrifood industry for every worker employed through SAWP at Ontario agricultural operations, says Ken Forth, president of F.A.R.M.S.
“Governments and agricultural organizations around the world are looking at this program as a model,” Forth says.  “For decades, this program has provided Ontario farmers a steady source of reliable labour as a supplement to local labour. At the same time it gives the seasonal workers well-paying employment, benefits and educational opportunities not available at home.”
Seasonal workers employed at Ontario farm operations through SAWP:
·        Sign contracts that guarantee them all the protections and benefits that Canadian workers receive, including WSIB, certain EI benefits and provincial health care coverage.
·        Receive an hourly wage rate set by Human Resources & Skills Development Canada. The hourly rate is not less than the provincial minimum wage rate or the local prevailing rate paid to Canadians doing the same job, whichever is greatest.
·        Earn up to five times more than they could in their own countries, which enables them to support their families, educate their children and buy and operate businesses and farms in their own countries.
Farmers have also realized great benefits from the program for more than 40 years, enabling them to hire staff that would otherwise be extremely challenging to find because of the ongoing shortage of suitable and available local Canadian workers.
“Ontario farmers pay the highest farm worker wages in North America and face intense competition from low-wage competitors,” Forth says. “Without this program, many Ontario farmers simply couldn’t continue to grow fruits and vegetables. They’d stop growing altogether or move into less labour-intensive crops.

New Food Marketing Institute Foundation Website Motivates Families to Get Back to the Table


ARLINGTON, VA – September 1, 2015 – Families across the country are committing to one more meal together each week this September in celebration of National Family Meals Month™. The value of family meals is well known: from increased self-esteem to improved grades and reduced risky behaviors to better nutrition. Helping American families achieve the goal of one more meal at home each week, the food retailer industry has developed and launched a new website with multiple resources, www.NationalFamilyMealsMonth.org

"September is the perfect month to spotlight long-term benefits of family meals, and start a conversation that inspires people to share more meal occasions at home with items from the grocery store," said Cathy Polley, RPh, executive director of the Food Marketing Institute Foundation, which supports the role of food retailing and focuses on research and education in the areas of food safety, nutrition and health. "Juggling the demands of modern life—school, sports, jobs and long commutes—can sabotage the best laid plans for family meals. We want to help Americans make wholesome meals together, at home, a modern family tradition – not just in September, but all year long."

The website, www.NationalFamilyMealsMonth.org, is filled with tools, tips, and meal-planning ideas to make it easier for families to have one more meal together per week. The website also includes links to more than 75 partners – primarily food retailers and manufacturers – also committed to helping consumers achieve their increased family meals goal. In short, families can find support from their favorite local supermarket and food brands.

The FMI Foundation also is encouraging Americans to join the National Family Meals Month movement by pledging to one more breakfast, lunch or dinner at home per week. Shoppers can post pledge photos, mealtime pictures, favorite recipes and shopping tips or even post a selfie wearing a favorite oven mitt with the hashtags #raiseyourmitt and #familymealsmonth.