Canada has one of the most vital agricultural industries in the world, ranging from wheat (seventh in the world) to, of course, maple syrup (first, and it’s not close).
Canadian agriculture needs, as do all agriculture industries, workers. About one in every eight Canadian jobs is in the agriculture or agri-food zones. And yet the country is struggling to find workers.
Reuters reports that the non-profit Canadian Agriculture Human Resource Council announced that the labor shortage in Canadian agriculture is expected to double by 2029. In 2017, Canada showed a farmworker deficit of 16,500, which directly resulted in a loss of about $2.2 billion (that’s in US dollars).
Canadian unemployment is at an all-time low, but there’s more work to be done, if the country can find people to do it. Take Maple Leaf Foods’s pork-processing plant in Manitoba: it’s operating at only 80 percent capacity, because there just aren’t enough people either to raise hogs or to work in the plant.
Canadian voters largely support efforts by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who pledged in 2017 to open doors to one million new immigrants within three years. But Trudeau is up for re-election this October, and trails the Conservative party in early polls—and the Conservatives are much less likely to uphold those immigration promises.
Immigration is vital to Canada’s agricultural industry; with low unemployment rates but still tens of thousands of empty jobs in the industry, there simply aren’t enough Canadians to produce food.