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Studying farm labour shortages

Tuesday November 18, 2014 Written by 
The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council is launching a new survey to research farm labour shortages and solutions. 

CAHRC's comprehensive labour market information (LMI) research survey will examine Canada’s agricultural workforce from every commodity and region across the country. The Conference Board of Canada will conduct the survey on behalf of the CAHRC, and is seeking participation from more than 1,000 producers, farm workers and stakeholder organizations now through Jan. 22, 2015.
All producers across Canada are encouraged to complete the short online survey at to ensure their farm’s needs are included in this important work that will help government and educators meet future farm labour requirements. Responses are strictly confidential.
“It is imperative that we get an accurate picture of the agricultural employment needs in Canada and the best way to do that is to go directly to the producers themselves,” said Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, executive director of the council. “Understanding their evolving needs is the first step in resolving the labour challenges facing primary agriculture. Once we clarify agriculture’s labour requirements for the short, medium and long term, relevant initiatives can be implemented with confidence by industry stakeholders to ensure the future viability and growth of Canadian farms.”
In a report soon to be released by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, labour issues are identified as the number one priority facing the Canadian agriculture industry today. At issue is the lack of clear labour market information for the agriculture industry that quantifies the chronic shortages facing Canada’s agricultural businesses and accurately forecasts those requirements for the next 10 years by province, commodity and occupation.

By understanding these workforce needs, the agricultural industry will be better able to develop policies and programs to meet demands.
“By participating in this research, agricultural business owners will also clarify employee turnover rates by commodity and province,” explained MacDonald-Dewhirst. “This will result in benchmarks employers can use to assess their own businesses. Producers will be able to compare their own rate of employee turnover with those of other agricultural enterprises in their region or in their commodity and assess the economic impact of employee turnover on their business.”
Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program, the council is collaborating on this three-year project with federal and provincial government departments, over 30 of Canada’s leading agriculture organizations, and agricultural colleges and training providers to ensure that the needs of industry are fully understood and addressed.

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