Canada's most authoritative and exciting grocery b2b publication
Industry NewsFood and beverage manufacturers struggling to hire critical trade roles

Food and beverage manufacturers struggling to hire critical trade roles

fandbtrade_report-1660518

Ontario’s food and beverage processing industry is seeking to increase education, employment opportunities, and access to qualified foreign workers as skilled trade shortages continue to take their toll on production capacity, according to a new study conducted by Food and Beverage Ontario and funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The food and beverage processing industry is Ontario’s largest manufacturing sector by employment. It contributed $13.9 billion to Ontario’s GDP in 2020 and is the largest purchaser of Ontario farm products. However, the industry is projecting a shortfall of 25,000 employees by 2025.

The study, which explores how the skilled labour shortage is impacting processing facilities across the province, found that 82 per cent of Ontario’s food and beverage processors need, or are actively seeking to employ a skilled trades professional. These positions include critical roles such as automation technicians, millwrights, electricians, and quality control technicians.

It takes an average of seven months to hire for the role, while a quarter of food and beverage processors note they have been waiting over a year to fill some skilled trades roles.

“The demand due to broad labour shortages has created both a loss in industry capacity and a cycle that draws existing resources to accommodate the shortage and labour turn over,” said Doug Alexander, vice president of sustainability and government relations at Belmont Food Group. Due to the high demand for skilled tradespeople across the country, industries are competing for talent in a limited labour pool, says the report.

The report also identifies barriers to employment and potential solutions to address the short-term challenges causing current production and staffing issues. Employers say short-term solutions should include increasing the industry’s access to qualified foreign workers for businesses that need to fill immediate skilled trade vacancies. The sector also encourages further investment in initiatives to leverage existing job opportunities and supercharge training and employment programs connecting employers with job seekers. 

Quick facts:

  • Food and beverage processing is Ontario’s largest manufacturing sector by employment, with more than 125,000 people working in the industry.
  • Ontario’s 4,000+ food and beverage processors are the largest purchaser of Ontario farm products, accounting for the purchase of 65 per cent of Ontario farm products.
  • Ontario’s food and beverage processing sector is the largest in Canada – accounting for 37 per cent of the industry’s revenue in the country.
  • 54 per cent of Food and Beverage Ontario’s members have discontinued products or services due to chronic labour shortages, and processors are rolling back non-core business simply to maintain core-business operations. 
  • Nearly 20 per cent of Ontario manufacturing jobs are in food and beverage processing. 
  • 90 per cent of processors in Ontario are small to medium-sized businesses employing fewer than 100 people.
  • 25 per cent of Ontario’s food and beverage processors are located in rural communities —indirectly supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs in other industries.
  • 25 per cent of the sector’s workforce will retire or be in the process of retiring by 2025.

Follow us:









Recent Issues

Related Articles