Human Resources
Some employers looking to hire temporary foreign workers are experiencing significant delays due to an increase in demand this year for migrant workers in Canada.

The federal government says the volume of applications is up almost 25 per cent over last year -- a development it says is partly because of Canada's low unemployment rates.

Employers who want to hire migrant workers in the "low-skill stream" are now waiting more than 100 days to find out if their labour market impact assessments (LMIA) will be approved. These assessments are necessary to prove the employer needs to hire temporary workers and that there are no Canadian workers available for the jobs.

Processing times for the "high-wage stream" are 85 days.

"Unemployment is at a historic low, reaching levels that have not been seen since 1976. While this economic success is good for business, it is also creating challenges for employers who are struggling to find enough workers to meet demand," said Veronique Simard, a spokeswoman for Labour Minister Patty Hajdu.

"The temporary-foreign-worker program continues to experience an increased volume of labour market impact assessment applications across Canada. Recognizing the urgency of the labour shortage in Quebec and the rest of Canada, our government is taking steps to improve service delivery for the TFW program." | For the full story, CLICK HERE
Published in News
The agriculture and agri-food sector is a major contributor to Canada's economy, employing approximately 2.3 million people in 2017. Reliable access to labour is vital for the sector to ensure it can continue to create high-quality jobs and meet the growing demand for top-quality products for Canadians and consumers around the world.
Published in News
Did you know that the cost of replacing a single worker can be as much as 150 per cent of their annual salary? Do you know what your turnover costs are?
Published in Research
The field fruit and vegetable industry is a significant agricultural employer with substantial labour challenges. Over the next decade, those challenges will intensify as a shrinking pool of domestic workers and an increased reliance on foreign workers will make the industry even more vulnerable to labour policy changes and lost sales due to labour shortages.
Published in Research
In these times of higher minimum wage and other input costs, it’s critical to make sure labour efficiency is as high as possible.
Published in Research
For the first time, the University of California has hired a Cooperative Extension specialist dedicated to organic agriculture.
Published in News
Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) announced that its board of directors has appointed Ian Potter as chief executive officer effective April 1, 2019. Potter will also join the Vineland board of directors at that time.
Published in News
The agency responsible for safeguarding Canada’s food supply has new leadership.
Published in Federal
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) held elections during its 2019 AGM for the positions of president, first vice-president and second vice-president. The new executive team will be focused on the key CFA priorities of the Producing Prosperity campaign, ensuring the pillars of economics, food security and the environment are at the forefront of Canadian agriculture.
Published in News
Ontario is open for business: the government is acting to bring jobs and investment back to our province by lightening the burden on business and making sure that hard work is rewarded.
Published in Provinces
Doug Alexander, director of engineering with Ippolito Fruit and Produce, will serve another year as chair of the Agri-Food Management Institute (AMI).

He is joined on the AMI executive committee by vice chair Laurie Nicol, recently retired as executive director of the Ontario Independent Meat Processors, and secretary/treasurer Jean-Marc Beneteau, a southwestern Ontario grains and oilseed grower. They were re-elected to their positions at the organization’s annual meeting in Guelph.

“I look forward to leading this dynamic group for another year as we continue to build awareness around the importance of business management in both agricultural and food businesses in Ontario,” says Alexander. “There is tremendous benefit that farmers and processors can realize in their operations through business management and planning, and AMI is here to help facilitate and encourage those activities in the Ontario food and agriculture industry.”

Also serving as AMI board directors for another year are Peter Henderson, managing director of Toronto-based consultancy Ideovation; Jim Gracie, president of Wheatley-based Presteve Foods; Ed Verkley, chair of the Poultry Industry Council; Sara Mann, an associate professor in strategic human resource management and organizational behaviour at the University of Guelph; Andrea Gal, managing editor of Better Farming, Better Pork and Farms.com, and Chris Hiemstra, an agri-tourism operator and beekeeper who is also vice chair of the Agricultural Adaptation Council.

The annual meeting included highlights of AMI accomplishments over the past year. The organization ran three cohorts of its flagship Advanced Farm Management Program, three farm tax and business seminars for farm advisors, a food entrepreneurs conference in eastern Ontario, a Transition Smart workshop in Wellington County and a pilot of its new Building Your Food Business Program.

In partnership with the Ontario Apple Growers, AMI delivered Ontario Apple Academy 2.0, and together with Farm & Food Care Ontario, ran two business planning workshops in Eastern Ontario. The organization was also a principal supporter of the Agricultural Excellence Conference last fall.

New resources released in the past year included a New Entrant to Farming business planning resource, a Selling Beyond the Farm Gate training program, and a white paper on barriers to scaling up for small and medium enterprises in food and beverage processing called The Food Entrepreneur’s Journey.

“We work hard to deliver programming and resources for various audiences, from beginning farmers to new food entrepreneurs to established farm and food businesses,” says AMI executive director Ashley Honsberger. “Research has shown that business management activities can help every business be stronger and more profitable, and AMI is proud to play a leading role in facilitating that potential.”
Published in Profiles
The Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) is pleased to welcome Gabrielle Ferguson as the new leadership programs director.

In this new position, Ferguson will be directly responsible for managing ROI’s long-running Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program, and continuing to develop the organization’s other leadership program offerings. Ferguson will also be instrumental in maintaining and creating sponsor relationships for current and future programs.

Ferguson comes to ROI with over 25 years’ experience in both industry and government, having worked with organizations such as the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Cargill, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the University of Guelph.

She is also a graduate of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (Class 15). Ferguson lives on a cash-crop farm in Lambton County and is passionate about promoting a greater understanding between agriculture and the public.

Chief Executive Officer Norm Ragetlie is delighted that Ferguson has joined the team and says, “Gabe’s arrival will give us a chance to take a fresh look at our leadership programming offerings. Gabe brings a wealth of ag sector relationships to this job which we will build upon to ensure the needs of the sector are being met.”

Ferguson is expected to begin her position with the organization in September.

“I’m excited to support leadership development in the ag sector and rural communities,” Ferguson says. “I’m looking forward to this new role and engaging with industry stakeholders to explore existing and new opportunities for leadership programming.”

The Rural Ontario Institute is a non-profit organization committed to developing leaders and facilitating collaboration on issues and opportunities facing rural and northern Ontario. More information is available at www.ruralontarioinstitute.ca/.
Published in Companies
FMC is pleased to announce that Darren Dillenbeck has joined the company as Canada country manager.

Dillenbeck will lead the Canadian organization and report directly to Amy O'Shea, FMC vice president and business director for Agricultural Solutions, North America.

O'Shea expects that Dillenbeck's comprehensive marketing and sales experience will be a major asset, as FMC enters a new chapter in the Canadian marketplace with a wide-ranging product portfolio strengthened by the acquisition of select crop protection assets from DuPont in 2017.

"Darren is joining FMC at a very exciting time," says O'Shea. "His key responsibilities include exploring the unique market opportunities our broader portfolio affords us and working in collaboration with the Canadian team to grow and evolve our market presence and channel partner strategy."

Dillenbeck notes that FMC will be a "pure-play" agriculture company focused solely on bringing unique crop protection options and value to Canadian farmers.

"We want to build a business platform that makes it easier for our customers to work with us," he says. "With world class research and development, in addition to a strong team, I believe that FMC is well-poised to deliver local solutions that serve our customers' needs."

Dillenbeck brings more than 20 years of agriculture industry experience to FMC, having held various commercial leadership roles with Dow AgroSciences. Dillenbeck also helped launch new business segments in Canadian agriculture with the introduction of technology, formulations and product combinations.
Published in Companies
The North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association Inc. (NAFDMA) has announced the selection of Corey Connors as its new executive director.

This appointment comes after Charlie Touchette, who provided NAFDMA with association management services for nearly 20 years, formally concluded his tenure effective May 1, 2018. The selection of Connors was made after an extensive national search overseen by the NAFDMA Board of Directors. “We are thrilled to formally announce Corey’s appointment,” said Tom Tweite, President of NAFDMA.

Connors joins NAFDMA with over 17 years of leadership experience in the agriculture, retail and attractions industries. Most recently, he served as chief staff executive of the North Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association (NCNLA).

Prior to NCNLA, he served in advocacy roles for several prominent national and international trade groups including the Society of American Florists (SAF), the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) and the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA). Connors holds a Master of Arts in Political Management from the George Washington University and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Clarion University.

“It is a genuine privilege and honor to serve this dynamic, growing industry,” said Connors. “Agritourism and farm direct marketing provide an unparalleled opportunity for consumers to reconnect to the family farm, creating unique experiences and rare opportunities to make precious memories.” He continued, “Our charge is clear: NAFDMA must provide cutting-edge tools and resources that support our community of innovators who seek to grow farm profitability while providing immeasurable benefits to their hometown.”

Connors begins his tenure at NAFDMA under a new operating structure, with the organization previously hiring on two additional direct employees last fall. This positions the association to have a stronger pulse on industry trends and will provide the opportunity to launch new member-focused programs and services. The first employees hired by NAFDMA include Membership Development and Services Manager, Lisa Dean and Education and Operations Manager, Jeff Winston.

“Interacting with motivated farm operators and entrepreneurs is rewarding. It is truly my pleasure to service our members,” said Dean.

“Having worked for this industry over the past five years, I’m excited to elevate the educational offerings that NAFDMA provides to each of its members,” said Winston.
Published in Associations
CanadaGAP is now accepting nominations for candidates to serve on the Board of Directors for CanAgPlus, the corporation that owns and operates the CanadaGAP Program.

CanAgPlus relies on volunteer leaders to guide decision making and oversee management of CanadaGAP. Participation on the Board of Directors affords volunteer leaders the opportunity for personal growth and satisfaction in moving the program forward and improving food safety in the fresh produce industry.

CanAgPlus directors are elected by members (i.e., those who are enrolled in the CanadaGAP Program) at the Annual General Meeting, which will take place in December 2018 in Ottawa, Ontario.

See http://www.canadagap.ca/events/annual-general-meeting/ for further information.

Composition of the Board of Directors
CanAgPlus is currently seeking nominations for four directors to the Board. The Board is comprised of eight directors in total, serving two-year rotating terms to ensure some continuity in membership.

Nominations
A recommended slate of nominees will be prepared in advance of the AGM for circulation to members, and presented for vote at the AGM. In accordance with provisions in the corporate by-law, and subject to applicable rules of order during meetings of members, nominations may also be made by ordinary resolution at the AGM.

Criteria for Directors
Candidates are expected to have a strong interest in the delivery, integrity and objectives of the CanadaGAP Program. Criteria for service on the Board of Directors include:
  • Exhibit ability to communicate interpersonally, provide facilitative leadership, and enforce group discipline on board processes.
  • Strong understanding and experience with the appropriate roles, group processes and corporate bylaws and policies that form systems of corporate governance.
  • Demonstrated judgment and integrity in an oversight role
Consideration will be given to volunteers with experience serving on a not-for-profit Board or governance committee or senior level experience working with other Boards. Experience and skills in the following areas will be considered assets:
  • Good working knowledge of CanadaGAP - its functioning, goals, evolution, etc.
  • Familiarity with administrative and management processes, rather than technical knowledge
  • Personnel management experience
  • Financial management experience
  • Knowledge of international food safety context
Directors need NOT be CanadaGAP program participants.

Term of Office
Directors will serve a two-year term. The Board meets twice a year in person, and holds conference calls as needed.

How to Apply
Those interested in serving on the Board of Directors must complete and submit the application form by August 31, 2018. Self-nominations are acceptable.

General Operating By-law No. 1
The by-law is available for download at: https://www.canadagap.ca/history/members-only/

If you are not a member of CanAgPlus, but interested in serving on the Board, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or call 613-829-4711 to obtain a copy of the by-law.

For more information
Visit www.canadagap.ca for further information about CanadaGAP and its governance.
Published in Food Safety
Don Dahr, retired WorkSafeBC cirector of industry and labour services (ILS) has been elected the new chair of the AgSafe British Columbia board of directors.

Dahr replaces retiring chair Ralph McGinn who served as the board chair for the past twelve years.

Don Dahr has been involved with AgSafe, formerly FARSHA, over the years as a non-voting member of the Board of Directors, providing guidance and updates on safety issues affecting agriculture.

Dahr has a strong professional history in workplace safety. Starting early in his career as an electrician he worked to address workplace electrical safety needs in the agricultural and farming sector throughout Alberta and northern B.C.

After a move to B.C., Dahr took a position with WorkSafeBC as a safety officer, eventually becoming WorkSafeBC’s director of ILS, overseeing the management of three of the major high risk industries in the province - agriculture, oil and gas, and forestry. Dahr retired from WorkSafeBC in 2014.

Wendy Bennett, AgSafe executive director welcomed Dahr as the new board chair, “Don’s involvement with AgSafe in the past has been very valuable. He is committed to creating safe work environments and that is what AgSafe does. It’s a great fit for our organization.”

Professional acknowledgements and safety projects:
  • Recipient, Lieutenant Governors’ Award for Public Safety
  • Chair, OSH Regulation Update for Part 19 Electrical Safety
  • President, Electrical Contractors Association Central Alberta
  • Member, Board of Directors BC Cooperative Association of B.C.
  • Resource Roads Safety Project
  • Confined Spaces in Agriculture Risk and Identification Initiative
Published in Provinces
My husband is always reminding me not to read the online comment sections of news articles. “They’ll only aggravate you,” he says, before listing off the numerous times I’ve almost had a stroke yelling at my computer screen.
Published in Associations
Farmers across Ontario are welcoming the return of thousands of seasonal labourers who help the province’s fruit and vegetable industry thrive.

Approximately 18,000 workers from Mexico and the Caribbean are expected to be placed at Ontario farms this growing season as a supplement to local labour under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP). Approximately 1,450 farms will benefit from the program this year.

The program was established in 1966 to respond to a severe shortage of domestic agricultural workers. It continues to serve the same role 52 years later, enabling Ontario farmers to stay in business.

“Men and women from overseas have been helping Ontario farmers solve a critical shortage of agricultural workers for more than half a century,” says Ken Forth, president of Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (F.A.R.M.S.), which administers the program. “At the same time, they’ve helped lift themselves and their families out of a punishing cycle of poverty in their home countries.”

SAWP is a “Canadians first” program, which means supplementary seasonal farm labour is hired from partner countries only if farmers cannot find domestic workers willing to take the same jobs.

Farmers who rely on the program to meet their labour needs do hire Canadians. The challenge is that not enough domestic workers — Canadians who may live in the rural areas where these farms are located — are interested in taking these positions, often because they are seasonal in nature.

Recent labour market research by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council cited SAWP as a key reason our horticultural industry is thriving.

In Ontario, the program plays a crucial role in helping the industry generate $5.4 billion in economic activity and approximately 34,280 jobs.

“If we want to continue having access to high-quality, fresh, local produce in Ontario, we need the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program to continue connecting farmers with the workers they need,” Forth says.

The vast majority of men and women who come to Ontario through SAWP believe the benefits of the program far outweigh any challenges or drawbacks, such as being away from their families for part of the year on a temporary basis.

Proof of this can be seen in the large number of workers who speak positively about the program and voluntarily return year after year — some of them to the same employers for decades. Approximately 85 per cent of the workers opt to return on repeat contracts in an average year.

Seasonal workers can earn as much as 10 times or more working here than they could in their own countries, if they fortunate enough to find employment. This income allows the workers to improve the standard of living of their families, educate their children and buy and operate businesses and farms at home.

Of the many different temporary worker programs in Canada, SAWP is the only one that offers 24-hour a day assistance to workers directly with people from their home countries. Each country participating in the program maintains a liaison service or consular office in Ontario to help look after the general welfare of agricultural workers and help them navigate any issues or complications they may face while working here.

For more information about Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, visit: www.farmsontario.ca.
Published in Profiles
As many of you already know, we are expecting several 'new additions' here at Perennia.

Both Rosalie Madden our vegetable specialist and Jennifer Haverstock our small fruit specialist will be leaving us in the coming months for year-long maternity leaves.

To ensure consistent service delivery to our horticultural clients over the coming year, we wanted to inform industry that we have hired Matthew Peill as a general horticulturist based out of the Kentville office.

Matt is currently completing his MSc. in Biology from Acadia University, where his thesis project is on the transmission of strawberry decline disease viruses by the strawberry aphid.

He has been involved in the provincial strawberry aphid and virus monitoring program since 2013 and has had experience with spotted wing drosophila as well. Matt’s experiences as a student with both Perennia and AAFC have given him the opportunity to become familiar with the agricultural industry in the Annapolis Valley.

Matt has the full support of Perennia’s Horticultural Team and Senior Extension Specialists in tackling this significant role, and will benefit from an overlap with both Rosy and Jen, having started April 16th.

For the time being please continue to contact Jen and Rosy; upon their departures calls and emails will be forwarded to Matt at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or 902-300-4710.
Published in Companies
Ottawa, Ont. – The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) has commenced a new project to enhance and update CAHRC’s agricultural supply/demand forecasting system.

The new information will provide updated national, provincial and commodity-specific labour market information that will clarify the state of the Canadian agricultural labour market and ways to minimize labour shortages in the future.

The two-year project will augment CAHRC’s previously released Labour Market Information (LMI) research that determined annual farm cash receipt losses to Canadian producers due to job vacancies at $1.5 B or three per cent of the industry’s total value in sales.

Based on 2014 figures, the LMI research estimated the current gap between labour demand and the domestic workforce as 59,000 jobs. That means primary agriculture had the highest industry job vacancy rate of all sectors at seven per cent.

Projections indicated that by 2025, the Canadian agri-workforce could be short workers for 114,000 jobs. The new research will update the forecast through to 2029.

“Understanding the evolving needs of agricultural labour challenges across the country and across commodities will facilitate the development of informed and relevant initiatives by industry stakeholders to ensure the future viability and growth of Canadian farms,” explains Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, executive director of CAHRC.

CAHRC’s research will examine the specific labour needs of all aspects of on-farm production including: apiculture; aquaculture; beef; dairy; field fruit and vegetables; greenhouse, nursery and floriculture; grains and oilseeds; poultry and eggs; sheep and goats; swine; and the tree fruit and vine industries.

The new research will update the demand and supply model of the agricultural workforce with information about projected employment growth, seasonality of labour demand, and labour supply inflows and outflows including immigration, inter-sector mobility, and retirements, as well as temporary foreign workers. It will also conduct secondary investigations and analyses focused on the participation of women and indigenous people in the agricultural workforce.

“The labour gap needs to be filled,” says Debra Hauer, manager of CAHRC’s AgriLMI Program. “To achieve this, we will examine groups that are currently under-represented in the agricultural workforce, particularly women and indigenous people, as well as continue to encourage new Canadians to make a career in agriculture. Removing barriers will improve access to job opportunities and help address labour shortages by increasing the agricultural labour pool.”

The new research findings will be unveiled at a national AgriWorkforce Summit for employers, employment serving agencies, government, education, and industry associations. Additionally, a series of presentations will be delivered to industry associations detailing national, provincial or commodity-specific labour market information.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program, the Council is collaborating with federal and provincial government departments, leading agriculture organizations and agricultural colleges and training providers to ensure that the needs of this industry research are fully understood and addressed.
Published in Research
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