Agrifoods producers met with the provincial government today to discuss skilled labor initiatives and human resource planning as part of a series of roundtables being held over the coming months with sectors highlighted in the BC Jobs Plan.
British Columbia’s agrifoods sector is one of the most diverse in Canada. It provides the province with a competitive advantage and a wide range of opportunities for growth and innovation in agriculture, commercial fishing, aquaculture and food and beverage.
The roundtables, co-hosted with industry associations and employers, aim to stimulate discussion and create awareness about how sectors can access skilled labour and satisfy human resource requirements, as a result of an aging population. B.C. has reached a tipping point with fewer young people entering the workforce than older workers leaving it. These demographic realities, together with economic growth, place significant pressure on key sectors to find innovative solutions to address skills shortages. Through BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, the Province is helping British Columbians get the skills they need to be first in line for these job openings.
Roundtable participants were invited to share information and discuss the unique challenges faced by processors in the agrifoods sector, specifically related to recruiting and training a qualified workforce, the promotion of B.C. export-ready products internationally and identifying opportunities for growth.
The sector-specific roundtables are another way government is working to provide employers and industry the opportunity to ask and respond to questions and inform the provincial government of key labour issues.
Norm Letnick, Minister of Agriculture –
“B.C. food producers help keep our families healthy, our communities vibrant and our economy strong. The B.C. government is committed to working with B.C.’s agriculture industry to best meet their labour market needs and ensure local food production continues to grow in British Columbia.”
Rhonda Driediger, director and former chair, B.C. Agriculture Council –
“The economic survival of many B.C. farms and supporting agrifood businesses depends upon farmers’ access to labour. We need to understand the diverse employment opportunities that exist within agriculture. The B.C. Agriculture Council appreciates government assisting farmers to find, develop and train the workers we need to help produce all our agricultural products and continue the growth of our industry.”
- B.C. has more than 1,800 food and beverage manufacturing operations around the province.
- In 2014, the agrifoods sector generated almost $12.3 billion in total revenue.
- British Columbia has some of the most diverse agrifoods industries in Canada, producing more than 200 agriculture commodities and 100 seafood species.
- More than 75% of B.C. seafood is destined for export.