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B.C. pilot program helps recruit and retain seasonal domestic ag workers

August 10, 2022  By Government of British Columbia

A pilot program this summer is connecting B.C. employers with seasonal domestic workers looking for employment in Okanagan orchards and vineyards.

B.C. Fruit Works is a collaboration between the B.C. Grape Growers’ Association, B.C. Cherry Association, B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association and the B.C. Tree Fruit Co-operative, with support from the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

“B.C. Fruit Works is part of our government’s Tree Fruit Industry Stabilization initiative as we look at ways to co-ordinate various agencies through an industry labour strategy,” said Lana Popham, minister of agriculture and food. “This collaborative approach is strengthening the B.C. tree-fruit and wine sector, and ensuring their delicious and high-quality products will continue to get into the hands of consumers this summer and in the future.”


“The new BC Fruit Works program represents the future for hiring Canadians to work in B.C. orchards. It includes an app that is elegant and simple to use for both growers and people looking for summer work picking fruit in the Okanagan sunshine.”

– Sukhpaul Bal, president, B.C. Cherry Association

In June, B.C. Fruit Works began a trial launch with several goals, including:

  • engaging domestic workers to work as branch hands in Okanagan orchards and vineyards;
  • leveraging technology, including web forms, social media, text messaging, QR codes, scheduling automation and digital marketing, to build a marketplace that connects workers with producers efficiently and in real time; and
  • creating ongoing job opportunities in Okanagan orchards and vineyards, building support for local growers, and protecting and sustaining B.C.’s food supply for years to come.

B.C. Fruit Works is seeing early success, securing 90 branch hands for fruit-harvest jobs and 60 farmers interested in training and adopting technology to maximize profit and minimize food waste.

“The B.C. Fruit Works program has the potential to shift our fruit industries into a more organized, collaborative unit, ensuring more efficient communication and feedback on the casual workforce that we require to operate as a successful industry,” said John Bayley, president of the B.C. Grape Growers’ Association. “It’s a much-needed step toward stabilizing our labour issues throughout all fruit sectors.”

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