Over the past ten years, the Council has worked with industry stakeholders to quantify labour requirements and trends.
Canada’s agriculture sector is poised for growth, as the global market for Canadian agricultural products rapidly expands. However, the sector faces significant labour challenges that could jeopardize its growth potential and its contribution to the national economy.
The project developed a labour market information supply and demand model that provided an overview of the current agricultural labour market and forecasted labour supply and demand, provincially, nationally and by commodity. The project identified labour and skill gaps, and investigated opportunities and barriers to participation among population groups that have been traditionally under-represented in the agricultural workforce.
- Conducted labour market information research (e.g. surveys, interviews and focus groups), including publicly available data sources.
- Created an interactive demand/supply model of the agricultural workforce including employment level, projected employment growth and seasonality of labour demand, labour expansion and replacement demand projections, a forecast of labour supply inflows and outflows including immigration, inter-sectoral mobility and retirements, as well as the effects of temporary foreign workers.
- Forecasted labour gaps/shortages.
- Validated research findings through focus groups. A panel of producers and a Provincial LMI Panel representing ministries of agriculture, labour and advanced education provided labour market intelligence about emerging issues.
- Determined benchmarks for turnover of employees and developed a turnover calculator for agricultural enterprises that illustrated the economic implications of high turnover of agricultural employees.
- Conducted two pilot projects to support skills development and match skills with job market demands of under-represented groups (e.g. newcomers and people with disabilities).
The direct involvement of national commodity associations and the provincial agricultural associations were essential to the project’s success. A national advisory group of stakeholders with an interest in labour market issues guided the project’s development. This group included government representatives, industry partners and researchers. Two working groups were also established to inform and contribute to the development of specific aspects of the project’s work. The Council convened a Provincial LMI Panel, comprised of representatives of provincial ministries of labour,agriculture and advanced education. A working group of organizations representing populations that have not traditionally worked in agriculture guided research about how individuals from these groups might more fully participate in the agricultural labour force.
Results and Outcomes
The creation and dissemination of labour market information has supported more informed labour market decisions by job seekers, agricultural employers, and students. A detailed investigation of the skills that unemployed Canadians need to become employed in the agriculture sector supports broader skills development initiatives among groups that have not traditionally been employed in agriculture. Ultimately, this project has enabled job seekers to better match their skills and career development to labour market demand in the agricultural industry.
There is widespread recognition that traditional Canadian sources for agriculture labour are proving inadequate. CAHRC’s Labour Market Information on Recruitment and Retention Report reveals that Canada’s primary agricultural producers will need an additional 50,000 non-seasonal and 38,000 seasonal workers by the year 2013.
The research also suggests that future employment needs will vary by geographic region, by commodity and by occupation. The report is based on statistical analysis from Canada’s Labour Force Survey, in addition to surveys of more than 550 farm employers with annual receipts of more than $100,000 about their current and future human resource requirements.
Labour Market Information – Did you know that 65 % of the census farms are classified as small farms? As it turns out, both small and large farms experience a labour shortage. Operators of small farms are not finding the labour they need just as the owners of larger farms had responded in the previous study.