Abbotsford, BC – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has chosen the Canadian Agricultural HR Council (CAHRC) to lead a new Quality AgriWorkforce Management Program: International Phase (QAMP) with a $279,239 investment in the nine-month project. The QAMP will support employers who hire international workers to supplement their Canadian workforce. The intent of the program will be to provide employers with the information, training and tools needed to efficiently and successfully hire and manage international workers. Research has shown that each international worker that is hired, following a stringent process to ensure qualified Canadian workers do not wish to apply, results in 2-4 full-time Canadian agriculture related jobs up and down the Agri-Food supply chain.

Contributing $304 million per day to Canada’s economy ($111 billion annually) and employing approximately 2.3 million Canadians the Agri-Food sector accounts for close to 7% of Canada’s GDP. With Canadian Agri-Food enjoying global recognition and unprecedented demand due to the high quality of the products coupled with equally high safety standards this critical business sector is poised to increase significantly its economic contribution to Canada by almost double by 2025.

Canada’s Economic Strategy Table: Agri-Food report released fall 2018, highlighted several areas that will require action for Canada’s Agri-Food sector to realize increased economic opportunity. For example, a regulatory system that supports innovation, a smart interconnected transportation system as well as broadband and IT improvements in rural communities. However, the most widely discussed and compelling area of focus continues to be increasing the labour force that will be needed in all skill levels and experience necessary for the Canadian Agri-Food sector to take full advantage of the domestic and global market that eagerly awaits “more” of Canada’s highly valued Agri-Food products.

CAHRC will implement the project through a variety of workshops and webinars across Canada while developing employer guides and handbooks. Looking ahead, CAHRC envisions a skills hub that would house a variety of HR management focused best practices that would be available to employers across the Agri-Food spectrum. Agri-Food businesses with a view to growing the AgriWorkforce require workers from all skill levels to meet the range of skills and experience necessary to capitalize on the growing demand for Canada’s highly sought after Agri-Food products.

“Our Government has identified the agriculture sector as a primary driver for the Canadian economy, particularly in our rural communities. Increasing the labour workforce on Canadian farms and primary processing is critical to the success of our agri-food businesses and will help meet our Government's ambitious target of growing our food exports to $75 billion by 2025." -Hon. Lawrence MacAulay, Minister Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

“Canada’s agricultural sector faces significant labour shortages, with over half of the work being seasonal and in rural areas with lower populations. Reliable access to labour is critical for this sector to ensure both continued food production and job creation across British Columbia and all of Canada.” -Jati Sidhu, Member of Parliament for Mission – Matsqui – Fraser Canyon

“Farm employers participating in the International Phase of the Quality AgriWorkforce Management Program are putting time and effort into learning the evolving process, the rules, and best practices to support their farm workers. International workers are an important part of the diverse Canadian AgriWorkforce team. CAHRC is proud to provide this new program supporting the hiring and management of international workers, improving the understanding that agriculture is a trustworthy industry that safeguards its workers.” - Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, Executive Director Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council

Funded in part by AAFC’s Canadian Agriculture Adaptation Program (CAAP), the Council is collaborating with producers, farm workers, federal and provincial government departments, leading agriculture organizations and agricultural colleges and training providers to deliver the International Phase of the Quality AgriWorkforce Management Program.


For more information contact:
Janet Krayden, Manager, Quality AgriWorkforce Management Program: International Phase, CAHRC C : 613-784-9426 T: 613-745-7457 ext. 226 E :
Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, Executive Director, CAHRC T: 613-745-7457 ext. 222 E:

Fast Facts
Agriculture Labour Market Information
Canadian Agricultural Workforce : Seasonal and Year-Round Jobs
CAHRC AgriSkills HR Management Training
CAHRC AgriHR Toolkit for farm employers
Labour Task Force’s Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Workforce Action Plan


Industry AgriWorkforce Support
Research shows that many agricultural employers provide language training, voluntary settlement support, and non-monetary compensation. Farm employers are also involved in workforce initiatives such as:
• Farm Worker App: Ontario Greenhouse and Vegetable Growers (OGVG) is leading an International Farm Worker App "HUBConnect" that is being developed by the Canadian Agricultural HR Council (CAHRC) in collaboration with OGVG growers and a community support group.
• Recruitment and Retention Campaign: The Alberta Cattle Feeders Association (ACFA) led a Recruitment and Retention campaign supported by CAHRC that included the development of job profiles and HR Management Recruitment and Retention workshops.
• E-learning Harvester Training: Mushrooms Canada (MC) is developing harvester e-learning training program. CAHRC has also conducted extensive wage survey research that indicates a quality living wage and job progression on mushroom farms.
• Outreach to New Immigrants: CAHRC led an under-represented group pilot that partnered with the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) that had tremendous success with over 100 placements in Alberta rural areas in a 6 month period in 2016.

International Phase: Quality AgriWorkforce Management Program

Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) is a national, non-profit organization focused on addressing human resource issues facing agricultural businesses across Canada. Industry participation is the cornerstone of CAHRC, working with agriculture industry leaders, governments and educational stakeholders to research, develop and communicate solutions to the challenges in employment and skills development in the agriculture industry. CAHRC is located in Ottawa, Ontario, leading collaborative implementation efforts in support of the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Workforce Action Plan for the sector. For more information visit

This project will involve the development and delivery of communications & training for employers to improve the ability of industry employers to successfully hire and manage international workers while complying with all employment regulations by providing clear information, instructions, tips, and training to build employer knowledge of requirements and best practices.

The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council will facilitate collaboration between governments (at the national and provincial level) and industry stakeholders. Project activities will be supported by Canada’s Agriculture and Agri-food Labour Task Force and strategic guidance for the project will be provided by the CAHRC Board of Directors. Agricultural Association Partners for the QAMP project include: Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA); Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC); Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (FARMS); Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Association (OFVGA); Fondation des entreprises en recrutement de main-d’œuvre agricole étrangère (Ferme); Western Agriculture Labour Initiative (WALI); Canadian Cattlemen Association (CCA); Alberta Cattle Feeders Association (ACFA); Alberta Pork (AP); Ontario Pork Industry Council (OPIC); Ontario Pork (OP); Mushrooms Canada (MC)