GFM Network News


The pandemic has clearly shown the need for a resilient national labour strategy.

Comment: COVID-19 shows Canada’s need for an agri-food labour strategy

In a complex economic sector, many solutions are needed for this intractable problem

Canadian agriculture has had problems with insufficient and unstable labour supply for decades. In 2019, primary agriculture brought in over 60,000 temporary foreign workers and still had over 16,000 vacancies. In 2017, on-farm agriculture had the highest job vacancy rate of any industry at 5.4 per cent. The current labour gap is 63,000 employees and

Most field crops are seen to be facing a bearish price outlook with prospects for bumper crops and substantial U.S. supports.

New ag policy needed to accommodate drastic changes

Latest policy note says policies of yesterday won’t work for today and tomorrow

Drastic changes in and outside Canada should prompt a new agri-food policy, according to a new report from industry experts. Agri-Food Economic Systems’ latest policy note identified 10 pressures on the industry in Canada today, each one varying in “magnitude, significance, urgency and permanence.” The report cites the majority loss of the food-service market due


Ontario to insure for crop loss due to lack of labour

AgriInsurance offering hailed as a first in Canada

Ontario’s federal/provincial AgriInsurance program has been temporarily expanded to include coronavirus-related labour shortages as a covered cause for crop loss. Producers already enrolled in an eligible production insurance plan and hit by crop losses due to labour disruptions during the 2020 growing season will be able to get further insurance coverage, the Ontario and federal

Editor’s Take: A stain on the Canada brand

A series of hard-hitting articles on migrant farm workers in Canada has shone a light on some realities that will make many Canadians uncomfortable. The Globe and Mail series was undoubtedly a shock to many readers unaware migrant farm workers were even ‘a thing’ in Canada. It details conditions that will leave a pretty clear



New pilot program for agri-food labour welcomed

Meat processors, greenhouse and mushroom growers, livestock producers get first crack at program

Ottawa — Federal officials hope a new pilot program will help stabilize ongoing labour issues in certain sectors of the agri-food value chain, while also providing citizenship to some foreign workers. Critics, however, contend more support is needed. “This pilot will help to ensure that farmers and processors have the much-needed skills, experience and labour

Sollio outlines pandemic recovery plan for food sector

Support sought for automation, digitization, telecommunications

Ottawa — One of Canada’s largest agri-food companies has laid out a five-point industry recovery plan for federal politicians to consider. During a meeting Tuesday of the Commons standing committee on finance, the president of Quebec-based Sollio Co-operative Group shared plans to limit consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the agrifood supply chain. Sollio employs

Labour shortages persist, hort sector says

Horticultural Council warns sector output will drop for lack of workers, support

Ottawa — The Canadian Horticultural Council warns the federal government is using inaccurate numbers to describe how many temporary foreign workers are currently in the country. During a virtual meeting of the Commons standing committee on agriculture and agri-food, CHC president Brian Gilroy said food security continues to be threatened as a result of labour


Cargill’s High River plant reopens with two slaughter shifts

Cutting line to resume Wednesday

Cargill’s southern Alberta beef packing plant, estimated to be responsible for over a third of Canada’s beef processing capacity, restarted Monday after a two-week COVID-19-related shutdown — but at a quicker pace than previously expected. The company said in a statement Monday it is resuming operations at the High River plant “with two shifts” in

CFA seeks $2.6 billion in support for producers

Federal officials sought specific numbers from ag industry

Ottawa — Canada’s agriculture industry is seeking an initial $2.6 billion in COVID-19-related emergency relief funding from the federal government. Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) officials put in the ask to the federal government on Thursday. According to second vice-president Chris van den Heuvel, federal officials asked the CFA “to go and put hard numbers