Your Reading List

Make your farm an international destination

Ever heard of the International Experience Canada program?

It’s been a winner for Serfas Farms.

The program grants visas — typically for one year — for students aged 18 to 29 who want to work, study, and travel in Canada.

Kevin Serfas doesn’t use the Temporary Foreign Worker program but has had about 40 international students work at his family’s grain and beef operation over the last five years.

  • Read more: Good workplaces attract good workers
  • Related Articles

The big advantage is that there’s no paperwork for the employer. And because the students are here to see Canada, Serfas insists they take all of July off as it’s a great time to travel and things are slow on the farm then.

The drawback is that the program has become so popular in the last couple of years that Ottawa now uses a lottery system to select students. That means if you recruit students — through your contacts, social media or other means — there’s no guarantee they’ll get a visa.

To attract foreign students, make your farm “stand out,” said Serfas.

That should include decent living quarters and pay — “beer isn’t as cheap here as it is in many of the places they are coming from.” But giving the students a chance to run all of the machinery and do a variety of things is also key, he said. — Staff

About the author


Jennifer Blair

Jennifer Blair is a Red Deer-based reporter with a post-secondary education in professional writing and nearly 10 years of experience in corporate communications, policy development, and journalism. She's spent half of her career telling stories about an industry she loves for an audience she admires--the farmers who work every day to build a better agriculture industry in Alberta.



Stories from our other publications