Ontario Studying Ag Worker Retention

Farm worker
Photo: Pixabay

The Ontario government, along with the federal government, are investing $350,000 for labour market research and resources to help the growing agriculture sector, the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC), says in a news release.

“This investment will help grow the sector’s workforce and ensure Ontarians have the necessary skills to start fulfilling careers in agriculture,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food, says in the release.

Through funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), CAHRC will develop a common set of labour data for Ontario’s agri-food sector to use and assist the industry to prepare their own labour action plans over the next two years.

The Ontario agriculture sector provides 97,800 jobs including 28,800 temporary foreign workers and over 101,000 jobs in food and beverage processing in 2008, the release says. Over the past weeks, the COVID-19 crisis has accentuated labour shortages in the sector with many employers saying labour shortage will be their top issue as they deal with the fallout from the current crisis.

“This project will let us assess the current needs, then develop programs and training opportunities to prepare the up-and-coming workforce for an exciting and satisfying career in agriculture while filling that labour gap,” Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, executive director of CAHRC says.

CAHRC will develop a common framework for describing the agricultural and agri-food labour market so job seekers and agri-food employers can understand where the jobs are and the skills needed to work in the sector. The project will also develop and pilot templates for industry associations to use to develop their own subsector workforce action plans, the release says.

By doing this Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food sector will be able to assist employers to find and retain workers, the release says.


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