Canadian Ag HR Council receives funding to build agriculture workforce strategy


The Canadian Agricultural HR Council (CAHRC) has received funding from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), for Growing the Agriculture Workforce of the Future: Cultivating Canada’s Post-Pandemic Recovery.

This funding is part of ESDC’s Sectoral Workplace Solutions Program (SWSP) that helps key sectors of the economy implement solutions to address their current and emerging workforce needs.

40 per cent of employers surveyed in primary agriculture in CAHRC’s 2021 Understanding the Effects of COVID-19 on Canada’s Agriculture Workforce research reported not being able to fill vacancies. The industry suffered earning losses of $2.9 billion in total sales, directly attributable to unfilled vacancies tied to the pandemic. This is nearly double the $1.5 billion in lost sales recorded in 2014.

This in turn is threatening local food security, and weakening the sector’s future economic development and trade growth, says Paul Glenn, chair of CAHRC.

“Industry has co me together through the National Workforce Strategic Plan to identify actions to address the chronic labour shortage and ensure the industry has the workforce to remain a global leader in the supply of sustainable, quality agriculture and food products,” Glenn says. “The funding provided by ESDC through the Sectoral Workplace Solutions Program (SWSP) will allow for the swift implementation of many of these actions identified by industry in the Plan.”

This 17-month project supports solutions to workforce challenges in the agriculture sector by:

  • Forecasting labour market shortages and skills needs;
  • Developing an inventory of current and future skills needs;
  • Developing training programs for job seekers and new employees; and
  • Expanding CAHRC’s HR Management program and developing a recognition program for employers.

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