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Industry NewsFeds invest close to $20M to boost labour in agri-food, food and...

Feds invest close to $20M to boost labour in agri-food, food and beverage sectors

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The Government in Canada is investing over $19.7 million in Canada’s agri-food, food and beverage industries to support labour challenges. The funding is part of the government’s Sectoral Workplace Solutions Program (SWSP) which helps key industry sectors address workforce needs.

The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council is receiving an investment of just over $12 million for their Growing the Agriculture Workforce of the Future: Cultivating Canada’s Post-Pandemic Recovery Project. This project will help to address human resource shortages in Canada’s agriculture sector. By identifying skills most in need, providing innovative and targeted training programs to 1,175 employers and employees and by setting sector-wide standards for recruiting and retention, this project strives to meet the current and future demands of the agriculture industry.

In addition, Food Processing Skills Canada is receiving $7.7 million for their Achieving our Workforce Destination: Qualified People, Successful Careers & Competitive Business Project. This project will offer training programs to 1,250 Canadians in the food and beverage processing sector. It will also develop resources, tools and certifications for supervisors and employees to help improve retention in the industry. The project will aim to engage up to 65% of participants from equity-deserving groups.

First announced in Budget 2021, the SWSP helps key sectors of the economy to implement solutions that address current and emerging workforce needs by funding organizations to deliver sectoral projects that focus on a range of industry-driven activities, including training and reskilling workers, and helping employers retain and attract a skilled and diverse workforce. It also supports equity-deserving groups by promoting a diverse and inclusive workforce and providing wrap-around supports as needed to those facing barriers to participation.

“Ensuring a highly competitive Canadian food and beverage manufacturing industry demands skilled individuals and exceptional workplaces – Achieving Our Workforce Destination will deliver on both. Thank you to the Government of Canada for investing in an industry that offers exciting career and business opportunities for Canadians and recent immigrants,” said Jennefer Griffith, executive director, Food Processing Skills Canada

Quick Facts

First announced in Budget 2021, the new Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program will help workers and employers by supporting solutions to address current and emerging workforce needs in key sectors, including:

  • building talent for Canada’s clean economy;
  • supporting needs of workers and employers hardest hit by the pandemic; and
  • addressing challenges faced by in-demand healthcare occupations.
  • Based on data from the Labour Force Survey in December 2022:
    • 260,600 Canadians were working in the agriculture and agri-food sector, down 37,200 (–12.5%) compared to pre-pandemic numbers (February 2020).
    • The industry faces ongoing pressures from population aging and fewer older individuals returning to work in agriculture after the pandemic.
    • This sector’s chronic labour shortage is forecasted to grow from 63,000 to as many as 123,000 workers by 2029.
  • Agriculture and Agri-food Canada with support from Employment and Social Development Canada is currently developing a National Agricultural Labour Strategy. The strategy will seek to address chronic workforce challenges and build short- and long-term solutions to attract a skilled workforce to the agriculture and agri-food sector.

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