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Grain And Oilseed Industry Bracing For 25% Labour Shortfall

According to the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC), Canada’s grain and oilseed industry is expected to see one in four jobs go unfilled due to a lack of available workers.
 
CAHRC has updated its labour market forecast research with the recent release of How Labour Challenges Will Shape the Future of the Grain and Oilseed Industry: Agriculture Forecast to 2029. The report reveals that in 2018 alone, the grain and oilseed sector lost a staggering $594 million in sales due to labour shortages.
 
“At a time when the global demand for food is rising and Canada has the ability and resources to produce it, it is critical to address the shortages identified within the research,” explains Portia MacDonald, Executive Director of CAHRC. “By working together, government and industry can create a Canadian agriculture sector that employs, feeds, and thrives.”
 
In 2017, the grain and oilseeds industry employed 38,750 workers, but was unable to fill 2,000 positions. By 2029, it will need 42,500 workers and the labour gap is predicted to reach 10,600, which means that one in four jobs will remain vacant. This situation is largely the result of two factors: the loss of 39 per cent of the current workforce to retirement and the shrinking of the domestic workforce by 6,900 workers over the forecast period.
 
CAHRC says with no access to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) or the Agricultural Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), the grain and oilseed industry is challenged to supplement its workforce with foreign workers when domestic workers are unavailable to fill positions.
 
Some of the barriers to recruiting and retaining workers include the seasonality of the work, long hours, rural or isolated locations, a lack of workers with adequate experience, and limited opportunities for advancement.
 
CAHRC has developed agriculture-specific human resource (HR) tools designed to support modern farm operators in managing their workforce. CAHRC also offers AgriSkills, an online and in-person training programs, and the AgriHR Toolkit, an online resource guide with templates to address the HR needs of any agricultural business.
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