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New Brunswick creates agricultural workforce development plan for long-term sustainability

The plan sets out goals to attract more farmers, address seasonal workforce needs, promote careers in agriculture, strengthen training, and develop better data for the province's farming sector.

May 8, 2020  By Fruit and Vegetable

The Agriculture Alliance of New Brunswick (AANB) commissioned the development of an agricultural workforce development plan that would guide a deliberate effort to address the challenge of sustaining the province’s agriculture sector in the years ahead.

The publishing of this development plan coincides with the New Brunswick government’s move to ban incoming temporary foreign workers from entering the province as many serious outbreaks of COVID-19 continue in surrounding jurisdictions.

“The farming sector has been increasing its economic contribution in recent years. However, like other industries, the agriculture sector is starting to face a significant challenge related to its workforce,” AANB’s release reads, explaining the need for a long-term plan for its provincial agriculture sector.

The New Brunswick agricultural workforce development plan was developed by consulting team comprised of Jupia Consultants Inc., Mellor Murray Consulting and Viminio Recherche et Analyse inc. This plan, according to AANB, has a five-year time horizon but is the foundation for a longer-term effort to ensure the industry has a good pipeline of talent for the future.

To develop the New Brunswick agricultural workforce development plan, a number of actions were taken including:

  • A survey of more than 100 farmers covering the entire province and each main commodity group.
  • Interviews with over 30 industry, government and education sector stakeholders in New Brunswick and in other provinces.
  • Best practices review of agricultural workforce development initiatives across North America and beyond.
  • A full review of industry statistics provided by Statistics Canada, the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council and other organizations.

All of the background research and analysis combined with insight from the steering committee led to the development of the New Brunswick Agricultural Workforce Development Plan.

An overview of the plan

The New Brunswick Agricultural Workforce Development Plan outlines five key objectives falling under different categories such as: addressing seasonal workforce needs, attracting more farmers, promoting careers in agriculture, strengthening training and human resources practices, and developing a better data source on the province’s farming sector. The plan outlines their initial budget as $90,000 to $100,000 per year to implement the activities outlined in the plan.

Screenshot of the New Brunswick Agricultural Workforce Development Plan, 2020-2024.

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership through the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, as well as the Department of Post-Secondary Training and Labour of New Brunswick made the funding of this initiative possible.

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