Government of Canada supports new tools to manage Canada’s agricultural workforce

News release

January 24, 2019 – Abbotsford, British-Columbia – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The agriculture and agri-food sector is a major contributor to Canada’s economy, employing approximately 2.3 million people in 2017. Reliable access to labour is vital for the sector to ensure it can continue to create high-quality jobs and meet the growing demand for top-quality products for Canadians and consumers around the world.

Member of Parliament for Mission–Matsqui–Fraser Canyon Jati Sidhu, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay, yesterday announced an investment of up to $279,223 to the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) to lead the International Phase of the Quality AgriWorkforce Management Program.

This project, funded through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program, is designed to clarify best practices for recruiting and retaining international workers. CAHRC’s activities will involve developing and delivering communications and training products for employers, including guides, website content, webinar and workshop training materials and, promotional materials.  

Research has shown that each international worker who is hired, following a stringent process to ensure qualified Canadian workers do not wish to apply, results in 2-4 full-time Canadian agriculture related jobs up and down the Agri-Food supply chain.

Contributing $304 million per day to Canada’s economy (over $111 billion annually) and employing approximately 2.3 million people the Agri-Food sector accounts for close to 7% of Canada’s GDP. With Canadian Agri-Food enjoying global recognition and unprecedented demand due to the high quality of the products coupled with equally high safety standards this critical business sector is poised to increase significantly its economic contribution to Canada by almost double by 2025.


“Our Government knows farmers and processors rely on a skilled workforce to stay competitive in order to reach an export goal of $75 billion by 2025. We proudly support projects like this, that improve the sector’s ability to better fill employment gaps and secure jobs in a safe and respectful environment. We are committed to ensure the agriculture and agri-food sector can respond to the growing demand for their high-quality products.”
- Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Canada’s agricultural sector faces significant labour shortages, with over half of the work being seasonal and in rural areas with lower populations. Reliable access to labour is critical for this sector to ensure both continued food production and job creation across British Columbia and all of Canada.”
- Jati Sidhu, Member of Parliament for Mission–Matsqui–Fraser Canyon

“Farm employers participating in the International Phase of the Quality AgriWorkforce Management Program are putting time and effort into learning the evolving process, the rules, and best practices to support their farm workers. International workers are an important part of the diverse Canadian AgriWorkforce team. CAHRC is proud to provide this new program supporting the hiring and management of international workers, improving the understanding that agriculture is a trustworthy industry that safeguards its workers.”
- Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, Executive Director, Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council

Quick facts

  • The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council is a national, not-for-profit organization established in 2007, focused on addressing human resource issues facing agricultural business across Canada. 

  • The Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (2014-2019) is a five-year $50.3 million program with the objective of helping the agriculture, agri-food, and agri-based products sector seize opportunities, respond to new and/or emerging issues, and pathfind and/or pilot solutions to new and ongoing issues, so it can adapt and remain competitive.

Associated links


Katie Hawkins
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
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Janet Krayden
Stakeholder Engagement Specialist
Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council | Conseil canadien pour les Ressources humaines en agriculture
1410 Blair Place, Suite 404, Ottawa, ON  K1J 9B9
Office: 613-745-7457 ext.226
Cell: 613-784-9426

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