Western Agriculture Labour Initiative
The Western Agriculture Labour Initiative (WALI) works with employers and governments to enable employers to find adequate domestic workers and continually improve working conditions for temporary workers.
Supporting the Seasonal Agricultural Worker program (SAWP) and, to a lesser degree, the Ag Stream program is a major initiative for the
BC Agriculture Council (BCAC). In late 2016, BCAC created a subsidiary corporation the Western Agricultural Labour Initiative (WALI) to lead this work.
In 2017, employers using SAWP began contributing directly to support this work. These funds are enabling WALI to assist with:
- Processing completed Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications
- Increasing representation at the national level
- Facilitating more regional engagement with employers, and
- Working with government partners to ensure safe working conditions for all employees.
WALI is not currently staffed nor licenced to assist individual employers with LMIA applications. In 2018, some of these funds will be used to support the hiring of additional staff. In late 2017, the BC Ministry of Health announced that they would begin work updating the Industrial Camp Regulations (ICR) to ensure healthy living conditions for workers and meeting the requirements of federal programs (such as SAWP).
We have been pushing to update the ICR for several years. WALI is part of an inter-agency working group (Ministries of Health, Labour, Agriculture and industry) working on improving the ICR along with other initiatives relating to temporary foreign workers (TFW). We anticipate engaging with employers later in 2018.
OUR STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
- We believe in using foreign workers only when there are no Canadians willing or available to do the work.
- We believe that all workers operate in a safe environment and that their rights are respected and promoted.
- BCAC represents agricultural employers' interests with government regarding program design, operations and problems.
WALI BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The BC Agriculture Council board of directors serve as the WALI board of directors.
WALI Executive Committee
- Rhonda Driediger, WALI Board Chair
- Sukhpaul Bal, WALI Vice Chair
- Ray VanMarrewyk, Treasurer