Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

COVID-19 Updates News Labour
Virtual career fairs, job matching concierges: OFA receives funding to help ag labour recruitment


May 27, 2020
By Fruit and Vegetable

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The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) received provincial and federal government support of OFA’s project proposal to rapidly develop a comprehensive support system for agriculture and food employers and job seekers.

On April 17, the provincial and federal government opened a targeted intake for the Addressing Labour Supply and Training Challenges project category. The funding was to be directed toward projects that are identifying tactics that will boost the labour capacity, skillsets, and supply within the province’s agricultural sector.

OFA’s project, Enhancing Agri-Food Workforce Readiness Along the Value Chain, includes a job matching concierge, specialized agri-training, collaborative marketing, targeted regional needs, and rapid response initiatives to keep our essential food supply chain functioning.

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According to OFA, the project includes:

  • A job matching concierge
  • Specialized agri-training
  • Collaborative marketing
  • Targeting regional needs
  • Rapid response initiatives

OFA is partnering with AgCareers.com and CareersinFood.com to provide an enhanced job matching concierge for farmers and food and beverage processors to set up an online account, post job openings, and manage applications.

OFA will also partner to host virtual career fairs that dissolve geographic barriers, in partnership with several communities across the province. Beyond COVID-19, OFA states that this platform will be particularly useful for rural and remote communities, where it can be difficult to congregate and recruit employees over vast geographies.

This project complements the provincial and federal government job portals; Ontario’s Agri-Food Jobs Portal and Canada’s Step up to the Plate – Help Feed Canadians initiative. OFA will leverage existing government portals to streamline efforts and ensuring the jobs are posted where job seekers will find them.

The project will receive up to $396,000 in cost-share funding through the Canadian Agriculture Partnership, a five-year federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

“We appreciate the government taking critical steps to support projects addressing labour demands and specialized training needs in our sector,” said Keith Currie, OFA president, in the media release. “We are eager to work alongside our collaborative partners to deliver this project and bridge the labour gap in our industry, during COVID-19 and beyond.”

“The Ontario government is committed to doing everything we can to support our farmers and food processors to meet their labour needs during this unprecedented time,” said Ernie Hardeman, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, in the same release. “This project is one more way for us to invest in our farmers and the entire food supply chain so they can access the labour and training needed to continue delivering high-quality food to Ontario families.”

The Ontario agri-food sector supports more than 837,000 jobs in Ontario and contributes more than $47.5 billion each year to the province’s economy.