New Canadians, urban students needed to fill labour gaps in agriculture

Ontario Veterinary College Dean Jeff Wichtel meets with veterinary students at Elora dairy research station (photo courtesy OVC)

When it comes to skilled labour needs in agriculture, we’re very good at identifying and quantifying the gap. However, as an industry where we’ve lagged is in making progress on the action items required to fill that gap.

Cam Dahl, general manager of the Manitoba Pork Council, says that while the labour shortage is not a new issue, the pandemic has likely made it more visible and bumped it higher on the list of priorities.

Still, the shortage exists, and more needs to be done to address the labour crunch now, as it’s only going to get worse.

Dahl adds that there needs to be more focus on the fact that many of the job openings are not labour or entry level positions. “These are technical jobs, careers,” he says. More needs to be done to let those in looking to level up their skills or begin a viable career path that these roles exist.

New Canadians are likely part of the solution, Dahl says, but more needs to be done to attract students into agriculture as an area of study or an area to apply more general skills and education.

Listen on to hear Dahl’s interview with RealAg Radio host Shaun Haney featuring more on regulations, industry collaboration, and encouraging local workforce participation: