Mushroom harvesters pick mushrooms and place them into cartons, boxes, and other bulk or consumer containers. Unlike other workers in the mushroom industry, harvesters are often paid by the piece rather than by the hour. This piece-rate amount is generally calculated on a ‘per pound’ or ‘per package’ basis.
While harvesters do not need prior experience to secure a job, 80% of mushroom growers surveyed categorized their harvester workforce as experienced. More than half of harvesters surveyed (52%) reported being employed through a Temporary Foreign Worker program.
On average, harvesters work 48 hours per week for 50 weeks of the year. Approximately 50% of harvesters are capable of earning more than the hourly minimum wage.
Harvesters usually earn the equivalent of between $12.00 to $22.00 per hour, although wages as high as $29.88 and as low as $10.46 (the minimum wage at the time) were reported in the survey. The hourly wage was computed based on piece rates and harvesting efficiency rates reported by survey respondents.
For detailed information on wages, benefits and a quality of living in rural Canada, read the CAHRC report Multiplying Mushroom Sector Opportunities with Rural Canadian Population Growth; or for the fast facts, view the Canadian Mushroom AgriWorkforce Infographic.
*Half of the companies surveyed paid more than this hourly amount to people in the role, and half paid less.
* Product packaging differs widely among mushroom growers, which affects the amount of product a harvester can collect in an hour. To compare data consistently across growers, the survey only collected information about piece rates paid for five-pound boxes.