The Council addresses emerging AgriWorkforce issues and leads the implementation of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Workforce Action Plan.
Maintenance of a strong agriculture and agri-food value chain has been identified by industry as the number one business risk management issue across all commodities and the value chain.
The agriculture and agri-food industry needs workers to remain globally competitive, to take advantage of export opportunities provided by the Federal Government’s free trade agenda, and to ensure the security, safety and sustainability of food for all Canadians.
The Council provides ongoing labour market intelligence research as requested by partners and the Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Task Force.
The Council works with the Labour Task Force to actively engage in disseminating the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Workforce Action Plan and respond to questions about the current agriculture labour market challenges.
Management of Emerging Labour Issues
The Agriculture and Agri-Food Workforce Action Plan was developed with extensive research over the last three years by an industry-led Labour Task Force (LTF) made up of representatives from all twelve of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Value Chain Roundtables. The LTF is a solution-oriented forum made up of industry representatives from across Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector, which examines issues of agriculture and agri-food labour management and shortages. The Workforce Action Plan initiative is being led by the Canadian Agricultural HR Council to ensure implementation of documented recommendations by the LTF. To date, 60 organizations are confirmed as Implementation Partners, lending support, credibility and a sense of urgency to addressing labour issues for the industry. This stakeholder involvement is enhancing CAHRC’s Labour Market Intelligence function.
Industry participation is the cornerstone of the Canadian Ag HR Council. Direction and guidance for all activities are provided by a large, nationally representative Board of Directors that includes agricultural leaders within and across various commodity groups. Additionally, all research, project work and product development activities are supported by national stakeholder participation to ensure quality, accuracy and relevance of prepared solutions. Stakeholders include employers, employees, youth, associations, education, and government at regional, provincial and national levels.
Results and Outcomes
Currently, CAHRC offers a number of important services and products designed to address critical issues for agricultural stakeholders including research reports, HR tools and training materials. The Council conducts in-depth research on labour market information that highlights skills shortages and includes recommendations on agricultural recruitment and retention. Research has also been conducted on identifying new and emerging markets for the agricultural sector.
Workforce Action Plan
The Labour Task Force has put forward two recommendations within the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Workforce Action Plan that meet the immediate and future requirements of our industry:
- Increase the Supply of Labour
- Improve the Knowledge and Skills of workers in the industry.
“The Labour Task Force stresses that it is urgent and essential that this initiative begin immediately as the issues of labour shortage are pervasive, affecting current operational success and damaging to the future health of the industry and the economy.”
— Agriculture and Agri-Food Workforce Action Plan, p. 8.
The Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Task Force (LTF) consists of a team of 30 agricultural industry experts appointed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Value Chain Roundtables, including seafood. The LTF follows a broad multi-commodity approach; its members span the entire value chain, bringing producers, human resource managers, academics and experts, as well as small and large processing companies together, offering a diverse perspective. The Federal Advisory Council on Economic Growth recommended that new action teams be established that are inclusive of multiple stakeholder perspectives and focused on high-impact issues.
The Labour Task Force (LTF) and the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Workforce Action (WAP), which was developed by the LTF, is a shining example of this strategic action team approach. The LTF developed the WAP as a road map forward for Canada’s agriworkforce, and it is supported by 86 agricultural organizations, agri-business companies, and municipal leaders; it is aligned with the recommendations of the Federal Advisory Council on Economic Growth and Budget 2017.
The Labour Task Force’s consultative process has identified the need and how to address agriculture labour issues through practical, achievable recommendations, and now the work needs to proceed.
To get involved or for more information, please contact us.
COVID-19 Information and Tips
Disclaimer: The COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving situation and the response to it is also evolving. Information shared on this page does not replace workplace requirements as outlined by federal, provincial and regional legislation, regulations and requirements (e.g. Quarantine Act, Employment Standards, Human Rights, Occupational Health and Safety) and should not be used as or considered legal advice. It is the responsibility of workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This page does not constitute legal advice.
Where can I find information to help me ensure my work environment is safe for my workers, meeting the occupational health and safety requirements?
As the COVID-19 crisis has evolved, more clarity on how to ensure a safe workplace has become available from federal and provincial governments.
- Guidance on the prioritization of initial doses of COVID-19 vaccine(s)
- Ontario Expands Workplace Enforcement Campaigns
- CCOHS - Pandemics
- CCOHS - Pandemic (COVID-19) Tip Sheets
- Online, Self-Testing Tool - COVID-19 Self Assessment
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- Employment and Social Development Canada
- Public Health Agency of Canada - Travel Advice
- World Health Organization
- Provincial Programs and Tools to Source Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Prevention, Control and Outbreak Support Strategy for COVID-19 in Ontario's Farm Workers
It is recommended that you consult your provincial government’s health and safety and labour requirements in addition to these resources.
- Prince Edward Island
- New Brunswick
- Nova Scotia
- British Columbia
- Northwest Territories
Information about COVID-19 and agriculture, agri-food and agri-business is accessible here:
- Agri-Food Supply Chains and COVID-19: Balancing Resilience and Vulnerability
- Agriculture and Agrifood Canada Q&As -COVID-19
There are also requirements and guidelines that have been set out by CFIA and provincial governments:
- Preventing and Responding to COVID-19 in Establishments Regulated by CFIA
- Preventing and Responding to COVID-19 in Meat Slaughter and Processing Establishments
The AgriHR Toolkit offers everything you need to improve your people-management skills and develop key resources to help you find, retain, and support your employees.
Federal Government Support
How can I access information about the federal government programs to support businesses and employees?
The federal government resources for Canadian businesses can be found at these links:
Where do I find the latest information on what I need to do to manage my foreign workers?
The COVID-19 crisis has had an impact on the arrival, movement and management of Temporary Foreign Workers. As this crisis has evolved, new guidelines and requirements have been released by federal and provincial governments. CAHRC’s AgriHR Toolkit provides resources related to managing foreign workers that you may find helpful.
The following is a list of key documents currently available:
- COVID-19: Guidance for Temporary Foreign Workers
- Pre-departure COVID-19 testing and negative results to be required for all air travellers coming to Canada
- Q&A: Pre-departure COVID-19 testing and negative results for air travellers coming to Canada
- Temporary Foreign Worker Compliance
- Guidance for Employers of TFWs regarding Covid-19
- Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP)
- Government announces help for employers to meet their labour needs
- Quarantine Act
- Work and travel in Canada with International Experience Canada
- Special Compliance Inspections for Employers of the TFWP during the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Government of Canada is announcing $50 million to help farmers
- Letter from Ministers to Employers – Temporary Foreign Workers – COVID-19
- ESDC Frequently Asked Questions: Changes to the TFWP Regarding COVID-19
- Service Canada Information on Foreign Workers
- Travel Restriction Exemptions in Place for Foreign Workers
- Travel Restriction Measures: COVID-19 Program Delivery
- Work Permit Extension For Temporary Foreign Workers already in Canada
- Agri-Food Immigration Pilot Update during COVID-19
- Guidance to Meat Slaughter and Processing Establishments on Prevention and Response to Suspect and Confirmed COVID-19 Plant Employee
- Foreign Worker News: Government Media Release
- Foreign Worker News: CFA Media Release
Mental Health Resources
Are there tools and resources available to support my own and my employees’ mental health?
CAHRC’s AgriHR Toolkit provides tools and templates for developing workplace wellness policies and work environments.
There are also several free mental health resources available for yourself and your employees.
- Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support
- CAMH: Mental Health and the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Mental Health Commission of Canada - Mental Health and Wellness Resource Hub
- Ontario Federation of Agriculture - Well Being During Covid-19
- University of Guelph mental health resource - 8 Domains of Well-Being... COVID-19 Style!
You may also wish to provide resources in other languages for those workers whose first language may not be English or French. Here are some links to mental health resources available in other languages:
- Ontario Fruits and Vegetable Growers Association Mental Health Resources (Spanish only)
- Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre (multi-lingual)
- US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (multi-lingual)
Where do I find information about managing employees including sick leave, exposure to COVID-19, access to benefits and laying off/re-employing workers?
The COVID-19 crisis has meant a shift in managing employees. To ensure you have the most up-to-date information, it is recommended that you consult legal counsel.
CAHRC’s AgriHR Toolkit provides HR-related resources including policies, templates and tools that you may find helpful.
There is a number of legal resources available on-line that address many of these questions. Some examples include:
It is also recommended that you consult federal and provincial/territorial employment standards, human rights, occupational health and safety and labour regulations and guidelines.