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Canada and Ontario investing $4 million encourage employment in food processing sector

Canada and Ontario investing $4 million encourage employment in food processing sector

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $4 million to support pilot projects that help the sector attract, support and retain workers by developing solutions that enable businesses to better meet the needs of employees.

These might include

  • transportation initiatives for employees to commute to the job site
  • childcare options while parents are at work
  • language proficiency solutions for workers with English as a second language
  • Improving workspace environments to help retain employees.

“There are countless quality and dynamic job opportunities for those looking for rewarding careers in agriculture,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “Our government will continue to support initiatives that help Ontario’s food sector retain skilled workers and operate under the best possible conditions to continue providing nutritious, safe, high-quality foods to Canadians and a growing global population.”

Said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “We are supporting projects that will make it easier for workers to start and continue their careers in the agri-food sector. These projects will help provide concrete solutions to ensure the sector have the workers they need to keep the province’s food supply chain safe and strong.”

Pilot projects may be eligible for up to 70 per cent of approved expenses to a maximum of $80,000 for individual businesses or up to $200,000 for a collaboration between two or more businesses. The new Ontario Agri-Careers Support will provide funding support for pilot projects undertaken by food processing businesses with more than 100 employees.

The data collected from these pilots will be compiled into a report by the Agricultural Adaptation Council, and shared with Ontario agri-food processors to help identify successful programs that may be utilized in their individual operations with the aim to address long-term labour challenges.

The Canadian Agricultural Human resource Council (CAHRC) estimates an agri-food workforce shortfall of 123,000 by 2029 in Canada. Ontario is expected to represent the largest share of the shortfall.

Applications for the new cost-share intake will be accepted starting on March 3, 2022. Approved projects must be completed by September 30, 2022.

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