Farmers Forum staff
ONTARIO — Nearly three quarters of Canadian agribusiness owners are working more hours because they are short-staffed and nearly half are turning down sales or contracts for the same reason, according to a new Canadian Federation of Independent Business report on the negative impact of chronic labour shortages in the ag sector.
It’s part of a gloomier mood the CFIB found among agribusiness owners, who have been “the least optimistic about the future of their business for six consecutive months.”
Eighty per cent would advise someone against starting a business because of labour shortages, Taylor Brown, Senior Policy Analyst at CFIB, said.
Just over 40 % of surveyed agribusinesses decreased their services because of the worker shortage, according to the report. Just over 60 % of these owners also relied on existing staff to work more hours.
The agribusiness labour shortage “limits productivity and growth and is putting Canada’s food supply at risk,” Jasmin Guénette, Vice-President of National Affairs at CFIB, said.
“We need policies that will support our farmers and agri-businesses to ensure the agriculture sector is competitive and productive and the current shortages of labour are prioritized,” Guénette said.
The CFIB is calling on policymakers to:
- Streamline and simplify the Temporary Foreign Worker program to get more workers into Canada faster.
- Provide tax relief to hire older workers and other underrepresented groups.
- Stimulate automation in agri-businesses through programs or tax credits.