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Bibeau Launches Program To Create 2,000 Youth Jobs In Agriculture Sector

On Wednesday, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau hosted a virtual event to announce an investment of up to $21.4 million to enhance the Youth Employment and Skills Program (YESP) and fund about 2,000 jobs for youth in the agriculture sector.

“By doubling our youth jobs program, we are providing thousands of young people with rewarding experiences that could lead to a career in agriculture. In a time of labor shortages, this enhancement will also allow many employers to fill vacant positions,” said Bibeau.

Also joining the announcement were the Chair of the Canadian Young Farmers’ Forum Justin Williams, and representatives from three past program participants: Delta, British Columbia’s Cropthorne Farm Ltd.; Coaldale, Alberta’s Kasko Cattle Co.; and St-Eugène, Ontario’s Les Fruits du Poirier.

"The Youth Employment and Skills Program helps alleviate some of the pressing labour issues in Canadian agriculture, while also giving youths exposure to our industry when that exposure is becoming increasingly rare," added Williams. "We hope programs such as this can help foster the next generation of Canadian farmers and get the younger generations talking about Canadian agriculture as a career prospect.”

The YESP aims to support agri-food employers and provide young Canadians between the ages of 15 and 30 with job experience in agriculture that could lead to a career working in the sector.

In 2020, the Government of Canada invested $9.2 million for the YESP, to fund nearly 1,000 jobs. Wednesday's investment more than doubles last year’s allocation.

Eligible applicants include producers, agri-businesses, industry associations, provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous organizations and research facilities. Support can cover the period from April 15, 2021 to March 31, 2022. Applications for the YESP are now being accepted and forms are available through the webpage.

The Youth Employment and Skills Program (YESP) offers employers who hire youth for agricultural jobs support for up to 50% of wages, to a maximum of $14,000. Indigenous applicants and employers who hire a youth facing barriers are eligible to receive up to 80% of total eligible costs, up to a maximum of $14,000.

YESP offers 100% of costs for relocation, to a maximum of $5,000, if the youth must relocate for the position.

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