ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia – The government of Canada announced an investment of C$279,223 in a project created to recruit and retain international workers in the country’s agricultural sector.

The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) will the lead the international phase of Canada’s Quality AgriWorkforce Management Program. The Council will develop and deliver guides, website content, webinar and workshop training materials in addition to promotional materials for employers.

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

Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industries employed approximately 2.3 million people in 2017 and contributed close to 7 percent of Canada’s GDP. “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 two to four full-time Canadian agriculture-related jobs up and down the agri-food supply chain,” according to the Canadian government.

“Our government knows farmers and processors rely on a skilled workforce to stay competitive in order to reach an export goal of C$75 billion by 2025,” said Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “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.”