Finding people to work on farms is a major challenge in much of rural Canada. To understand the labour issues facing the ag sector, the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council is asking producers to complete a survey outlining their farms’ labour requirements.
The Conference Board of Canada is conducting the survey on behalf of the CAHRC, seeking participation from more than 1,000 farmers, farm workers and stakeholders between November 12th, 2014 and January 22nd, 2015.
“It is imperative that we get an accurate picture of the agricultural employment needs in Canada and the best way to do that is to go directly to the producers themselves,” says CAHRC executive director Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst. “Understanding their evolving needs is the first step in resolving the labour challenges facing primary agriculture. Once we clarify agriculture’s labour requirements for the short, medium and long-term, relevant initiatives can be implemented with confidence by industry stakeholders to ensure the future viability and growth of Canadian farms.”
The council says labour issues are identified as the number one priority for Canadian agriculture in a report soon to be released by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, and that a shortage of data has made it difficult to understand and forecast labour needs.
“By participating in this research, agricultural business owners will also clarify employee turnover rates by commodity and province,” explains MacDonald-Dewhirst. “This will result in benchmarks employers can use to assess their own businesses. Producers will be able to compare their own rate of employee turnover with those of other agricultural enterprises in their region or in their commodity and assess the economic impact of employee turnover on their business.”
The three-year research project is being funded by the federal government. The CAHRC is also collaborating with federal and provincial government departments, over thirty agriculture organizations, and agricultural colleges and training providers.
Click here to fill out or find out more about the farm labour survey. The CAHRC says all responses will be kept confidential.