Funding aims to help solve labour shortages for agri-food businesses with over 100 employees

TORONTO – Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership program, the Ontario and the federal governments are spending $4 million to support pilot projects helping the agri-food sector to “attract, support and retain” workers.

Pilot projects could include transportation initiatives, childcare options, language solutions for those of whom English is a second language, and workplace environment improvements.

“We are supporting projects that will make it easier for workers to start and continue their careers in the agri-food sector,” said provincial agriculture minister Lisa Thompson in a press release.

“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.” 

Eligible pilot projects could have up to 70% of approved expenses covered with a limit of $80,000 for individual businesses, or up to $200,000 for a collaboration between multiple businesses. Only businesses with over 100 employees are eligible. 

Data collected from pilot projects will be reported by the Agricultural Adaption Council and disseminated to the agri-food sector “to help identify successful programs that may be utilized in their individual operations with the aim to address long-term labour challenges.”

Ontario labour minister Monte McNaughton acknowledged a labour shortage and said the programs will help provide rewarding work in communities across the province by giving “employers the ability to retain workers and grow their business.”