Interim Report Developed for the National Workforce Strategic Framework for Agriculture and Food and Beverage Manufacturing

December 6, 2022

December 6, 2022 – OTTAWA – The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) and its partners the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) and Food and Beverage Canada (FBC-ABC) are pleased to share the interim report on the development of an industry-led National Workforce Strategic Framework for Agriculture and Food & Beverage Manufacturing.

Started in 2021 with funding from the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre, the National Workforce Strategic Framework will set out a comprehensive plan for Canada’s agriculture and food and beverage manufacturing sectors to achieve workforce stability by 2030. The Strategic Framework will identify the root causes of industry’s labour shortages and skills gaps, identify concrete actions to address these shortfalls, and set meaningful goals and timelines to measure our progress and success.

The Strategic Framework seeks to complement the efforts of the Government of Canada, including the development of a National Agricultural Labour Strategy by the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food.

To date, over 100 stakeholders have actively participated in this critical initiative, including primary producers, food and beverage manufacturers, educational institutions, producer groups, industry associations, and government officials. Together, they are undertaking work around five key themes:

  • Perception and Awareness of Industry and Careers
  • People and Workplace Culture
  • Immigration and Foreign Workers
  • Skill Development
  • Automation and Technology

The interim report sets out the details of that framework.

“The Canadian agriculture and food and beverage manufacturing sectors not only provide food to Canadians and the globe but are strong contributors to the Canadian economy,” said Paul Glenn, Chair of the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council. “Growing chronic labour shortages impact the success and viability of these sectors. Bringing industry together to work to identify and address these workforce challenges will enable the sector continue to prosper and grow.”

"In light of the chronic labour shortages that have constrained Canadian agriculture for years, with those pressures only expected to increase, a systemic and strategic response to the workforce challenges throughout the value chain is critical,” said Mary Robinson, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. “This innovative, stakeholder-led approach will be instrumental if we are to realize the sector’s full potential as a global leader in the supply of sustainable, quality agriculture and food products”.

“Food and beverage manufacturers, Canada’s largest manufacturing employer, are short an average of 20 per cent of their workforce,” said Kathleen Sullivan, CEO of Food and Beverage Canada. “This project is proving to be a critical exercise in bringing together industry to examine the cause of these shortages, and to identify meaningful industry and government actions to resolve this significant issue impacting Canada’s food system. The interim report is the result of a collective effort to identify how we can ensure industry has the skilled workforce needed to meet Canada’s food needs.”

“Having a strategic framework to look at the workforce challenges in agriculture, food and beverage manufacturing sectors is crucial to address growing shortages of labour on which all Canadians depend,” said Pedro Barata, Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre. “This is a perfect example of the programs FSC is investing in so that traditional industries such as these can find pathways to address chronic skills gaps and labour shortages and facilitate progress by bringing multiple stakeholders together. We’re pleased to support this initiative that will help employers and workers identify solutions to stabilize these industries for the future.”

The National Workforce Strategy for Agriculture and Food and Beverage Manufacturing project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre.

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About the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council
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.

About the Canadian Federation of Agriculture
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) was formed in 1935 as a unified voice to speak on behalf of Canadian farmers. CFA’s work continues today as a farmer-funded, national umbrella organization comprising of provincial general farm organizations and national and interprovincial commodity groups, representing producers of all commodities, who operate farms of all sizes. Through its members, CFA represents approximately 190,000 Canadian farm families from coast to coast to coast. CFA promotes the interests of Canadian agriculture producers to ensure the continued development of a trusted, sustainable, and vibrant agriculture sector in Canada.

About Food and Beverage Canada
Food and Beverage Canada (FBC-ABC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s domestic food and beverage manufacturers. Its members include Canada’s provincial and regional food and beverage manufacturing associations as well as leading Canadian food and beverage companies. FBC-ABC advances a competitive business environment that enables growth and sustainability through knowledge sharing, consultation, business-led solutions and proactive advocacy. Across Canada there are almost 8,000 food and beverage manufacturing establishments employing almost 300,000 workers.

About Future Skills Centre
The Future Skills Centre (FSC) is a forward-thinking centre for research and collaboration dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success. We believe Canadians should feel confident about the skills they have to succeed in a changing workforce. As a pan-Canadian community, we are collaborating to rigorously identify, test, measure, and share innovative approaches to assessing and developing the skills Canadians need to thrive in the days and years ahead. The Future Skills Centre was founded by a consortium whose members are Ryerson University, Blueprint ADE, and The Conference Board of Canada, and is funded by the Government of Canada's Future Skills program.


For more information

Phyllis MacCallum
Manager AgriLMI, CAHRC