Mr. Speaker, in two weeks, hundreds of highly skilled agricultural workers who harvest mushrooms must leave Canada for their home countries, leaving other supply chain jobs in jeopardy and the industry risking losses in the tens of millions of dollars.
According to the George Morris Centre, this sector has a $900-million impact on the Canadian economy. The six to 12 months it will take to train skilled and productive replacement workers will be devastating for farmers trying to fill their orders. Mushroom farming is a 365-day-a-year operation and needs special attention from the current government. While they are willing to talk a good game about how distinct the agricultural sector is, when it comes down to it, the Conservatives are not acting on the farmers' need for a base of skilled, experienced, and reliable agricultural labour.
On this side of the House, we believe it is time for the government to support Canadian farmers by finding a solution to permanently address this crisis. At the very least, government should do the right thing and provide an extension for these agricultural workers, as it has done for others.