CAHRC leads new AgriWorkforce program

January 29, 2019
Written by Canadian Agricultural HR Council (edited)
Abbotsford, BC – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has chosen the Canadian Agricultural HR Council (CAHRC) to lead a new Quality AgriWorkforce Management Program: International Phase (QAMP) with a $279,239 investment in the nine-month project.

The QAMP will support employers who hire international workers to supplement their Canadian workforce. The intent of the program will be to provide employers with the information, training and tools needed to efficiently and successfully hire and manage international workers.

Research has shown that each international worker that is hired, following a stringent process to ensure qualified Canadian workers do not wish to apply, results in two to four full-time Canadian agriculture related jobs up and down the agri-food supply chain.

Contributing $304 million per day to Canada’s economy ($111 billion annually) and employing approximately 2.3 million Canadians, the agri-food sector accounts for close to seven per cent of Canada’s GDP. With Canadian agri-food enjoying global recognition and unprecedented demand due to the high quality of the products coupled with equally high safety standards, this critical business sector is poised to double its economic contribution to Canada by 2025.

Canada’s Economic Strategy Table: Agri-Food report released fall 2018, highlighted several areas that will require action for Canada’s agri-food sector to realize increased economic opportunity. For example, a regulatory system that supports innovation, a smart interconnected transportation system as well as broadband and IT improvements in rural communities. However, the most widely discussed and compelling area of focus continues to be increasing the labour force that will be needed in all skill levels and experience necessary for the Canadian Agri-Food sector to take full advantage of the domestic and global market that eagerly awaits “more” of Canada’s highly valued agri-food products.

“Canada’s agricultural sector faces significant labour shortages, with over half of the work being seasonal and in rural areas with lower populations. Reliable access to labour is critical for this sector to ensure both continued food production and job creation across British Columbia and all of Canada,” says Jati Sidhu, member of parliament for Mission – Matsqui – Fraser Canyon.

CAHRC will implement the project through a variety of workshops and webinars across Canada while developing employer guides and handbooks. Looking ahead, CAHRC envisions a skills hub that would house a variety of HR management-focused best practices that would be available to employers across the agri-food spectrum. Agri-food businesses with a view to growing the AgriWorkforce require workers from all skill levels to meet the range of skills and experience necessary to capitalize on the growing demand for Canada’s highly sought after agri-food products.

Funded in part by AAFC’s Canadian Agriculture Adaptation Program (CAAP), the CAHRC is collaborating with producers, farm workers, federal and provincial government departments, leading agriculture organizations and agricultural colleges and training providers to deliver the International Phase of the Quality AgriWorkforce Management Program.

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