AgriLMI – one of CAHRC’s five main areas of focus – explores the latest labour market supply and demand requirements for the agriculture sector. Through AgriLMI we examine commodity specific workforce shortages, growth patterns and needs.

Canada is a major producer of many agricultural products, and its exports relative to production are among the highest in the world. Over the next decade agriculture is poised for growth, as the global market for Canadian agricultural products rapidly expands.

However, Canadian producers continually face challenges related to securing a sustainable workforce. The shortage of qualified and experienced farm workers impacts today’s production levels and future expansion of the agriculture sector in most provinces and across many commodities.

The Labour Market Forecast to 2029 is a key initiative within AgriLMI. The research builds on the results of the 2014 labour market forecast in defining current national, provincial and commodity-specific AgriWorkforce information. 

In 2018 farmers reported that unfilled vacancies cost agriculture $2.9 billion in lost sales – an increase from $1.5 billion in 2014.

Data from the forecast clarifies the industry’s labour needs and the impacts of workforce shortages by region and by production type to inform employers, industry associations, educators and policy makers as they work to ensure a strong and vibrant future for Canada’s agriculture industry.

Provincial and commodity-specific reports coming soon. In the meantime, please contact us for further information on the Labour Market Forecast to 2029. 

National Data

National Data

Commodity Data

Commodity data

Provincial Data

Provincial Data

Other Research

Other Research

Research: Agriculture Forecasting System: Update


This two-and-a-half year project will enhance and update CAHRC’s agricultural supply / demand forecasting system. The new information will provide updated national, provincial and commodity-specific labour market information that will provide clarity for agricultural employees, employers, educators and policymakers about the state of the labour market and ways to minimize labour shortages in the future.

Project Activities

  • Update the demand/supply model of the agricultural workforce with information about employment level, projected employment growth, seasonality of labour demand, labour expansion and replacement demand projections, a forecast of labour supply inflows and outflows including immigration, inter-sector mobility, and retirements, as well as temporary foreign workers.
  • Conduct an industry survey to update findings from the previous project, such as the sector’s outlook, and the cost of labour shortages to the industry.
    • Conduct an employer survey to assess the number of job vacancies and the cost of lost sales from those vacancies.
    • Verify assumptions used in the forecast, such as the production outlook, and the pace of farm consolidation.
  • Forecast labour gaps based on a medium-growth scenario. Adjust national, provincial and commodity-specific forecasts based on stakeholder feedback.
    • Validate research findings through a series of webinars with industry stakeholders.
    • Conduct secondary investigations and analyses focused on specific topics related to the participation of women and Indigenous people in the agricultural workforce. Specific lines of enquiry will be based on stakeholder recommendations.
  • Develop reports detailing LMI demand and supply for agricultural occupations, nationally, provincially and by commodity
  • Disseminate findings through various means including:
    • a national AgriWorkforce Summit for employers, employment serving agencies, government, education, and industry associations,
    • a series of presentations to industry associations detailing national, provincial or commodity-specific labour market information.

Project Partners

The direct involvement of CAHRC’s partners will be essential to the success of the project. A national advisory group, 20 experts with an interest in labour market issues will guide the progress of the project. A Provincial LMI Panel comprised of federal and provincial government representatives will be convened to tailor province-specific lines of enquiry. 

Results and Outcomes

New national, provincial and commodity-specific forecasts of agricultural labour supply and demand to 2029 will provide up to date labour market intelligence to the agricultural industry. This will provide valuable information to job seekers, educators and government policymakers about current and future job opportunities and will provide information to agricultural employers about potential sources of workers for their operations. Ultimately, more informed decisions will be made by those seeking work and those looking to secure workers.

Previous Research:

Agriculture Supply and Demand Forecast Modeling

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

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.

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.

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.

Focus on Small Farms in Canada 2011

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.

This research is a companion piece to the previous work published in the 2009 report Labour Market Information on Recruitment and Retention in Primary Agriculture which focused on the labour needs of farms with gross receipts of $100,000 or more.
Through these two analyses, CAHRC will be able to consider future programs and activities in the context of the primary agriculture industry as a whole.
For more information, please see below for the full report:

Labour Market Information on Recruitment and Retention in Primary Agriculture

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.

An LMI Factsheet and Executive Summary of the final report have also been prepared to serve as quick reference guides on the research findings and recommendations.

Following the LMI research, farm operations were interviewed to profile the HR strategies that these employers have found to be successful when attracting and retaining workers, and explain their ongoing HR challenges. A summary of these interviews, as well as the resulting individual profiles, are outlined in the Farm Profile Summative Report.