Agricultural labour shortage? How the industry is looking for a solution

Last week on this blog, we learned 12 facts about the agricultural labour shortage, and why it matters to Canadians. This week we’re going to take a look at some of the solutions being explored to help with this chronic crisis.

At the ACFA we have a variety of initiatives aimed to help with recruitment and retention, but there are many other programs in place aimed at helping solve the challenge. Here are three of them:

1. The Canadian Agricultural and Agri-Food Workforce Action Plan (WAP)

Supported by almost 70 agricultural associations, the WAP is a long-term strategy to address the issue of the chronic shortage of labour. Its stated goals include increasing the supply of workers, and also improving the knowledge and skills of workers.

“Communicating the labour shortage issue is part of the work of the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Workforce Action Plan (WAP),” said Janet Krayden, stakeholder engagement specialist with the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council. “It’s important, because this work is essential to providing Canadians with food and it involves unique and special skills of workers.”

2. The temporary foreign worker program

Canadian farmers always employ Canadians wherever possible, but sometimes they simply can’t build a workforce large enough to run their operations. Often, the only way they can run efficiently is by supplementing their Canadian workforce with temporary foreign workers.

3. Career Connections

In an earlier post, we discussed Career Connections, an innovative educational program from Acme School, which is helping teach students about the opportunities available to them in their rural communities. You can read more in ‘How cattle feeders are helping create a future for young people in agriculture’.

Career connections farm tourThere is no simple solution to the labour crisis, in part because there is no simple cause. But, initiatives like these are all helping us deal with a chronic and worsening problem.

Stay tuned for future blog posts, as we will undoubtedly return to this important topic.