OTTAWA — Canada has 1.2 million small businesses, who employ more people than government, making small businesses the largest employer in the country, according to a 2021 Department of Industry report Key Small Business Statistics. Small operators account for 38 per cent of private sector GDP and a payroll of 7.7 million workers.
As for Canadian farms, they are big on hiring foreign workers. Canadian businesses hired 44,000 foreign workers in the first three months of this year. About 40,000 of them were hired by farms, according to Ken Forth, a broccoli farmer and president of Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services, a facilitator of foreign labour. COVID changed everything, Forth said. Locals quit. Many of the about 20,000 Canadians who worked on farms retired, he said, creating a huge need for foreign labour. Older Canadians, many of them pensioned, decided they no longer needed or wanted a second income, he said.
A British Columbia cherry orchard set a record for requesting the most foreign workers, an astounding 630.