The federal government is providing almost $20 million for two projects
By Diego Flammini
On a day when Canada’s agriculture sector is receiving national attention, the federal minister of agriculture announced millions of dollars in support for the industry.
To help kick off Canada’s Agriculture Day on Feb. 15, Marie-Claude Bibeau announced almost $20 million in support for two industry projects under the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program, on behalf of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough.
This program “helps key sectors of the economy implement solutions to address their current and emerging needs.”
The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) is one of the funding recipients.
The organization will receive $12 million for its Growing the Agriculture Workforce of the Future: Cultivating Canada's Post-Pandemic Recovery Project.
This project will help identify the skills most in need, provide training programs in the sector and set standards for recruiting and retention.
"The future of the agriculture and agri-food sectors is contingent on having a skilled and reliable workforce,” Minister Bibeau said in a statement. “Over these past few years in particular, Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector has faced significant challenges in acquiring workers and maintaining stability. These two very important projects will strengthen this crucial sector for generations to come."
This follows a CAHRC report from 2021 of 453 stakeholders highlighting how COVID-19 affected Canada’s ag sector.
The report’s findings include:
- Labour shortages contributed to about $2.9 billion in lost sales. That’s equivalent to 4.2 per cent of the sector’s total sales.
- 45 per cent of respondents want help finding and retaining Canadian workers, and
- More than 50 per cent are worried about not being able to hire all the workers they need.
This federal support will allow the CAHRC to respond to the industry’s specific needs, said Paul Glenn, chair of the CAHRC.
"The funding announced today will allow CAHRC to action priorities identified by industry in the National Workforce Strategic Plan right away and provide new and innovative training, tools and resources to attract and retain workers in the industry."
Food Processing Skills Canada is the other funding recipient.
The organization will receive $7.7 for its Achieving our Workforce Destination: Qualified People, Successful Careers & Competitive Business Project.
This initiative will offer training programs to more than 1,200 Canadians in the food and beverage sector and develop resources to improve retention.
"Ensuring a highly competitive Canadian food and beverage manufacturing industry demands skilled individuals and exceptional workplaces - Achieving Our Workforce Destination will deliver on both,” Jennifer Griffith, executive director of Food Processing Skills Canada, said in a statement.
Canadians can use the hashtag #CdnAgDay to follow along with the day’s celebrations.