Mark Wales, a horticulture farmer from Elgin County, Ontario, has been named as the chairperson for the Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Task Force (LTF). The LTF is moving forward with recommendations set out in its Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Action Plan to address agricultural industry worker shortages.
Wales is also the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) Chair, representing the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), and recently served as president of OFA.
The Labour Task Force was established by the Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC) Value Chain Roundtables in 2012 to examine issues of agriculture and agri-food labour management and shortages; recently the LTF transitioned to become a CAHRC Committee.
“It is my pleasure to chair the Labor Task Force. We have a broad-based, growing group representing all commodities and value chains and we are rolling up our sleeves, coming together to work on solutions for agriculture and agri-food labour shortages,” says Wales. “Through the Labour Action Plan we have a roadmap forward addressing our workforce shortages which have been identified as the number one risk affecting the agriculture and agri-food industry today.”
The LTF released the Labour Action Plan with practical and achievable recommendations last spring and support for the Plan’s implementation has now grown to 45 industry partners. The group is working on an update to the Policy and Programs section of the Labour Action Plan, including a review of changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program as it relates to agriculture and agri-food.
“Labour shortages are pervasive, affecting current operational success,” says Wales. “To allow for continued prosperity and growth for our industry and the broader Canadian economy, it is urgent and essential that we continue to move forward with the Labour Action Plan to find short, medium and long term solutions.”
As the overarching organization for farm labour in Canada, CAHRC is also conducting research on agricultural Labour Market Information (LMI) to identify labour and skill gaps as well as the National Agricultural Occupational Framework (NAOF), an in-depth study of the exact jobs and skills involved in today’s agricultural workforce. These projects will help to better inform and connect industry, governments and academic institutions with agriculture’s workforce requirements which are integral to the success of the Labour Action Plan’s future activities.
For more information on the Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Action Plan or agricultural human resource management contact CAHRC at www.cahrc-ccrha.ca.