Labour Productivity Challenges in Ontario’s Agri-Food Industry

The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council has some resources and insights about labour productivity challenges in Ontario’s agri-food industry.

Some of the challenges include:

  • Over 45% of surveyed Ontario agricultural employers said they could not hire all the workers they needed
  • The labour gap in Ontario grew by over 10,000 people from 2007 to 2017
  • The survey of Ontario employers also found that reported over 80% experienced excessive owner stress, over 60% experienced production delays, nearly 60% lost sales, and over 40% delayed the expansion of their business.

The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council developed a new Labour Market Information Framework to help address these problems. It was developed through a review of existing sources of labour market information, the identification of gaps in the knowledge about the labour market, and the development of a framework of common terminology and best practices that can be applied universally to primary agriculture and food processing as well as different sub-sectors and regions.  

The framework can be used by government, association policy advisors, and labour economists who want to understand and forecast the sector’s labour needs more accurately. It can be used to clarify existing labour market information and generate new data that is consistent, standardized, and supportive of a more comprehensive understanding of the labour market and the activities involved in the sector.  

By bringing greater consistency to the way the labour market is defined, the framework will provide greater clarity to job seekers and food processing employers who need to understand where the jobs are and what skills are needed to work in the sector

To learn more about the Ontario agri-food labour market, check out CAHRC’s Labour Market Information (LMI) Framework and also AgriLMI’s Agriculture Labour Market Forecasts.

Program to Raise Ontario Food International Trade (PROFIT) Workshop

OMAFRA’s Program to Raise Ontario Food International Trade (PROFIT) workshop provides Ontario agri-food producers and processors with the main exporting touchpoints required for food and beverage products to the United States. 

For more than 30 years, the PROFIT workshop has grown the success of hundreds of Ontario agri-food businesses by enhancing their market knowledge to export to the U.S.

Following the successful shift from an in-person event to a virtual platform in 2020, the PROFIT seminar will be offered online again this year. The PROFIT seminar series is comprised of nine (TBC) twice-weekly sessions during July and August. It is free for participants to attend, and is being offered to anyone in the agri-food industry that is interested in learning more about exporting food and beverage products to the U.S.

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Regional Economic Analysis Community of Practice Webinar

Join other economic development professionals on Thursday, June 17, 2021 for a panel discussion about regional economic analysis and how to use data to support decision making.

This session is designed to help participants:

  • Gain a better understanding of existing regional and local data to support planning and recovery efforts, such as regional economic base, growth opportunities, sector impact, workforce, and its uses in strategy development.
  • Learn how other communities have utilized different Analyst reports and other data to further their economic development objectives
  • Network with others that use a data driven approach to economic development.
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Informative Resources for Potential Entrepreneurs in the Food Industry

The Government of Ontario is offering new educational resources to assist and guide those who are interested in starting a food business. These resources are intended to inform potential entrepreneurs about various components of starting and operating a food business, as well as to help them discover whether the food industry is right for them.

Key Components of a Business Plan

The first resource offers information about the key components of a business plan, including operations, finance, human resources, marketing and more. It presents many considerations for each of these key components, allowing readers to generate an accurate and fully-encompassing plan for their future business.

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Indigenous Agri-Food Funder’s Forum Webinars

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is hosting a forum to provide information on programs that encourage economic development in the agriculture sector and addresses Indigenous food security by linking Indigenous agri-food interests with suitable funders.

Indigenous clients, communities, non-profits and private sectors are welcome to join.

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Agri-Tech Innovation Program Webinar

Monday, May 17th 2021 at 1:00-2:00 PM ET  or Thursday May 20th 2021 at 9am-10am ET

Description: 
You are invited to join a webinar about the Agri-tech Innovation Program – a new a $22 million cost-share program that will help farming operations and processor businesses adopt innovative and new technologies. This session will provide details on the Early Adopters intake to support implementation of sector-specific, unique and innovative technologies in the workplace that enhance protection of workers against COVID-19 by reducing COVID-19 transmission risk, lead to increased business efficiencies and productivity, and help build the sector’s resilience. The merit-based intake opens on May 17, 2021 and will close on June 21, 2021.

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Ontario Government Announces Agri-Food Labour Strategy

Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, has announced two initial projects as part of a long-term strategy to address labour challenges in the agri-food sector.

During a virtual roundtable with agri-food sector leaders, Minister Hardeman expanded on the government’s investment of $812,000 to two projects aimed at labour shortages.

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Greenhouse Production and Vertical Farming Webinars For Northern Ontario

As technology becomes available, new crops and production methods are expanding opportunities in Northern Ontario.

Register for the Greenhouse Production and Vertical Farming Webinars and learn from the experts about some of the key considerations when starting a project. Municipalities play a key role in determining how and where production activities occur. By attending these webinars, municipal staff, elected officials, businesses, and community organizers will gain an understanding of key aspects of growing under cover, including:

  • New technologies
  • Advantages and limitations
  • Lessons learned from people working in this sector
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Award-winning EDAC & EDCO Economic Recovery Projects

When COVID-19 cases began to spike in 2020, municipalities started exploring a variety of ways to support businesses. Across Canada, economic development organizations examined the unique challenges facing their communities and created action plans to help businesses survive and recover from disruption caused by the pandemic.

This post showcases organizations and related activities that were recently recognized by the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC) and the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) for their economic recovery projects.

At EDAC’s 2020 Conference, three participants won the Marketing Canada Award for the COVID-19 Recovery Project/Plan category:

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Highlights from the 2021 North & Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference

The North & Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference has officially ended. This year, hundreds of attendees from regions across Ontario attended the virtual conference to learn about topics such as agri-tourism, farming, greenhouse production, and more from experts and small Ontario businesses. Following the theme of local food, two chef-led lunches were hosted to encourage people to support Ontario farmers by purchasing local Ontario produce.

Session 1: “Local Food More Than Ever” – March 10

Continue reading Highlights from the 2021 North & Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference

Regional Economic Development blog focusing on agriculture and rural economic development for Ontario