“Every activity included in this funding announcement supports key priorities identified by industry." - CAHRC executive director Jennifer Wright
February 16, 2023 By Greenhouse Canada
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is funding ‘Growing the Agriculture Workforce of the Future: Cultivating Canada’s Post-Pandemic Recovery,’ a new effort by the Ottawa-based Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) to support agricultural workers.
This funding is part of ESDC’s Sectoral Workplace Solutions Program (SWSP), which helps various industries address their current and emerging workforce needs. Like many others, Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industry is struggling to attract workers from a shrinking labour pool. Chronic labour shortages and skills gaps constrain the sector’s ability to maintain current levels of food production.
“Industry has come together to identify actions to address the chronic labour shortage,” says CAHRC chair Paul Glenn. “The funding by ESDC through the SWSP will allow for the swift implementation of many of these actions.”
The 17-month project will involve forecasting labour market shortages, compiling an inventory of skills needs and developing training programs.
“Every activity included in this funding announcement supports key priorities identified by industry,” says CAHRC executive director Jennifer Wright. “This funding ensures some of these priorities will be actioned quickly.”
In a 2021 research survey by CAHRC, 40% of employers in primary agriculture reported they could not fill vacancies. The industry suffered earning losses of $2.9 billion in total sales that were directly attributable to these unfilled vacancies, tied to the COVID-19 pandemic—nearly double the $1.5 billion in lost sales recorded in 2014.
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