April 3, 2023 - Ottawa, ON – The Canadian agriculture industry has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and one of the most pressing issues that it faces today is the availability of skilled labour. In light of this, the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council (CAHRC) is launching a survey to evaluate the post-pandemic labour market situation in the industry. It will also be a reference point to the data that CAHRC has been gathering for almost a decade.
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing issues, such as labour shortages and other challenges, and it is crucial to understand the current market situation and the impact of the pandemic on the industry’s workforce. This much-anticipated update to the previous LMI study completed in 2018 will collect valuable insights from primary producers, provincial governments, agricultural industry associations, commodity groups, and other stakeholders in the agriculture industry to identify challenges, and explore potential solutions. CAHRC will obtain an updated overview of the current agricultural labour market that will inform the labour supply and demand forecasts.
“The Canadian agriculture industry has been experiencing a growing labour shortage that is turning to a labour crisis. The update to this research will provide a measurement of what that labour shortage is currently and forecast what the future holds,” said Jennifer Wright, CAHRC’s Executive Director. “This data is often used to inform policy, funding, training and education programs and labour market information assessments. The more participation we have in this survey the better the data will be.”
In this constantly changing economic environment, research is so important and current data is critical to help clarify labour shortage issues. By better understanding how workforce needs have changed, the agricultural industry can present the new research to policy makers to guide future action on the growing workforce crisis. In this effort, CAHRC will be surveying a minimum of 800 Canadian farm owner-operators, agricultural workers and supporting stakeholder groups. With the direct input of these various groups, they will have an opportunity to provide valuable input to guide future action on labour shortages. We urge all owner-operators, agricultural workers and supporting stakeholder groups to take part in the surveys that will be open until April 30, 2023.
New to CAHRC’s labour market research, this update will investigate opportunities and barriers to participation among groups in Canada's population that have traditionally been under-represented in the agricultural workforce such as Indigenous peoples, new Canadians, women, youth and older workers. The industries in this study will also expand to include agriculture retail, cannabis production and organic production.
The Council has led numerous labour market information projects that have provided meaningful data and tools to further the needs of the agriculture industry. The full research report Understanding the Effects of COVID-19 on Canada’s Agriculture Workforce is available at https://cahrc-ccrha.ca/programs/agrilmi.
The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) is a national, non-profit organization focused on addressing human resource issues facing agricultural businesses across Canada. The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council works with industry leaders, governments and educational stakeholders to research, develop and communicate solutions to the challenges in employment and skills development in primary agriculture.
The Council represents farming in all its forms: raising traditional and non-traditional livestock; producing, cultivating, growing, harvesting or collecting conventional and non-conventional agriculture commodities; and any practices performed as an integral part of an agricultural operation.
For more information visit www.cahrc-ccrha.ca.