Apple growers fear confusion over foreign worker programs

Annapolis Valley apple growers worry they could be hurt by recent furor over abuses to Canada’s temporary foreign worker program.

Annapolis Valley orchards use migrants workers during fall harvest

Annapolis Valley apple growers worry they could be stung by recent furor over alleged abuses to Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Fast food chain McDonald’s announced Wednesday it was suspending its practice of bringing in people from outside the country and will be reviewing its hiring policies.

The chain has come under intense scrutiny after complaints that temporary foreign workers were being given better hours, and were even hired over Canadian applicants at some restaurants in British Columbia.

The apple industry in Nova Scotia relies on migrant workers during harvest. Berwick, N.S., grower Larry Lutz says he fears there may be confusion between the program farmers rely on and one used by some banks and restaurants.

"In our case, if we didn't have seasonal agriculture workers we wouldn't have an operation," he said. "I couldn't farm without it. How else can you find people to work six weeks in the fall? Nobody wants a six-week job, unfortunately.”

The Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture says about 70 farmers in the Annapolis Valley employ seasonal labourers from Mexico and the Caribbean to plant and harvest fruit and vegetable crops.