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Canadian government invests to address agri labor demands

"Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector continues to be among the sectors most affected by the pandemic, which caused plant closures, market fluctuations, and supply chain delays. The significant shortage and loss of skilled labor as a result of these pressures needs to be addressed urgently. This is why the Government of Canada is investing to help resolve the current workforce challenges and to advance long-term solutions for the farming and food processing industries"" the Canadian government announces.

This week, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, on behalf of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, announced that the Government of Canada is investing over $19.7 million for two agriculture and agri-food projects under the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program (SWSP). The announcement comes as CCanada'sAgriculture Day is celebrated across the country.

The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council is receiving an investment of just over $12 million for their Growing the Agriculture Workforce of the Future: Cultivating CCanada'sPost-Pandemic Recovery Project. This project will help to address human resource shortages in CCanada'sagriculture sector. By identifying skills most in need, providing innovative and targeted training programs to 1,175 employers and employees, and by setting sector-wide standards for recruiting and retention, this project strives to meet the current and future demands of the agriculture industry. 

In addition, Food Processing Skills Canada is receiving $7.7 million for their Achieving our Workforce Destination: Qualified People, Successful Careers & Competitive Business Project. This project will offer training programs to 1,250 Canadians in the food and beverage processing sector. It will also develop resources, tools, and certifications for supervisors and employees to help improve retention in the industry. The project will aim to engage up to 65% of participants from equity-deserving groups. 

First announced in Budget 2021, the SWSP helps key sectors of the economy to implement solutions that address current and emerging workforce needs by funding organizations to deliver sectoral projects that focus on a range of industry-driven activities, including training and reskilling workers, and helping employers retain and attract a skilled and diverse workforce. It also supports equity-deserving groups by promoting a diverse and inclusive workforce and providing wrap-around support as needed to those facing barriers to participation.

"Growing chronic labor shortages impact the success and viability of the Canadian agriculture and agri-food industry. This viability is essential not only because of the strong economic contribution but also because Canadian agriculture and agri-food producers provide food to Canadians and the globe. The funding announced today will allow CAHRC to action priorities identified by industry in the National Workforce Strategic Plan right away and provide new and innovative training, tools, and resources to attract and retain workers in the industry","said Paul Glenn, Chair of the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council. 

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