March 21, 2018 4:17 pm
Updated: March 21, 2018 6:16 pm

Paperwork delays leaving B.C. orchards scrambling to find enough staff

Watch Above: The manager of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association explains why orchards are scrambling to find enough staff.

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Fruit picking season is months away, but already Okanagan farmers are scrambling to find enough workers.

Roughly 7,000 workers are needed province-wide to pick and pack B.C. fruit. Farmers are having to rely more on foreign workers to get the job done because fewer locals want to work in the fruit industry.

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The manager of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association said the farmers are being bogged down in paperwork when it comes to hiring those foreign workers.

“There have been some delays in approving the applications and it’s causing a lot of pressure on the farms. They’re getting behind in their work because of the delays in bringing the workers in,” Glen Lucas said.

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“That’s because of a number of new systems that have been implemented,” Lucas said. Among the changes, a new, longer application form takes longer to process.

To add to the frustration, Lucas said there’s a new visa application system implemented for Mexican workers, which is also slowing the approval process down.

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