A recent report predicts significant labor shortages in the Canadian agricultural industry, creating the need to welcome thousands of farm workers and operators as new immigrants.
The Ukraine conflict underlined the need to establish domestic food production because of the disruption of global supply chains. The development of Canada’s agricultural industry is the key to resolving the cost-of-living crisis, as food imports contribute significantly to the rising costs.
The latest report predicts severe labor shortages in the farming sector unless there are efforts to attract more skilled workers into the agricultural business. There is an immediate need to bring over 30,000 new immigrants to offset the labor shortages in Canada’s agricultural sector.
Highlights of projected labor shortages
According to the latest report, over 23,000 farm operators in Canada will retire by the end of the current year. Besides, Canada will face a shortage of 24,000 workers in different farming activities, like greenhouses, nurseries, and general farming. Most retirees in agricultural production are unsure about the future of their business.
There is a steady decline in the land under farming, and the number of farmers dropped to 262,000 in 2021 from 346,000 Canadian farmers in 2001. The farmland dwindled to 153 million acres from 166 million acres during the same period. More Canadian farmers are getting older, highlighting the need to attract more permanent residents who will take over farming activities.
Canada must adopt an aggressive approach to increase the number of farmers through the Agri-food pilot program as it provides a pathway to permanent residence. Skilled workers in the agricultural sector are eligible to come to Canada by getting a non-seasonal job offer from a Canadian employer to explore a pathway to permanent residence.