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Boosting Agri-Food Sector - New Youth Employment Program

By: Farms.com  

Canada's agricultural sector is poised for a significant uplift with the announcement of the Youth Employment and Skills Program (YESP). This initiative, backed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, heralds a new chapter for youth employment in agriculture, demonstrating the government's commitment to nurturing the next generation of agricultural professionals. 

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, has unveiled a funding package of approximately $13.5 million designed to facilitate around 1,200 job opportunities for young Canadians within the agriculture sector. This move is a testament to the sector's vibrant future and the pivotal role youth play in its sustainability and growth. 

YESP offers a compelling incentive for employers, covering 50% of wages up to $14,000. This support extends to 80% for the employment of youth facing barriers, with an additional allowance of up to $5,000 to overcome employment obstacles.  

The program targets a diverse group of youth, including Indigenous peoples, those with disabilities, racialized youth, newcomers, single parents, and individuals from low-income households, among others. 

Eligible employers have from February 26, 2024, to March 25, 2024, to submit their applications, with Indigenous employers receiving priority consideration for the 2024-2025 program year. This initiative not only aims to bolster youth employment but also ensures a more inclusive and diverse agricultural workforce. 

The YESP is a crucial component of the broader Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS), a collaborative effort across 12 federal departments and agencies. Since its inception in 2019, the program has successfully employed approximately 5,100 youth in agricultural roles across Canada, including nearly 1,500 youth facing employment barriers. 

This program underscores the government's resolve to support young Canadians in securing meaningful employment in agriculture, thereby fostering a resilient, sustainable, and dynamic agri-food sector for the future. 


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