Attracting and Retaining Skilled Labour: Helping Farmers Compete in Today's
Global Economy

The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council discusses the future of the agricultural workforce at its first regional forum in Moncton

OTTAWA, Feb. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - "Today's and Tomorrow's Farms: Employment and Skills Development" was the theme surrounding the first regional forum organized by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) in Moncton, New Brunswick, today.

Agricultural producers from across all four Atlantic provinces were joined by members of general farm organizations, representatives from post-secondary institutions and provincial governments and given the opportunity to interact with experts in the areas of employment and skills development.

"New technologies and the changing demands of consumers have significantly changed the agriculture sector. Food safety, plant health, and environmental regulations have evolved. Production methods and equipment are more high-tech," said Danielle Vinette, CAHRC's Executive Director. "Agriculture businesses need to keep up with the trends - attracting and retaining skilled labour and providing workers with access to training programs - so they can remain competitive and continue to thrive in today's global markets."

Through its mandate to work with industry leaders, governments and education stakeholders to develop and implement programs and activities that deal with primary agriculture's most pressing challenges related to human resources, CAHRC will be seeking the input of stakeholders across the country to address farm employment and employer/employee skills development in agriculture. Although Moncton was the site of the first forum, additional meetings are planned in Guelph, Saint Hyacinthe, Abbotsford and Calgary over the coming months.

Mervin Wiseman, Vice-Chair of CAHRC's Board of Directors and member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture, opened the meeting by calling for the need to raise the bar on employment and skills development. "CAHRC's Labour Market Information on Recruitment and Retention Report, published in June 2009, reveals that 9% of all jobs in primary agriculture are currently unfilled - in Atlantic Canada, the vacancy rate is at 17%. This number represents more than 3,000 people and speaks to the urgent challenges currently faced by the sector and the road ahead for one of Canada's most important industries."

One of the forum's keynote speakers, The Honourable Claudette Bradshaw, former Federal Minister of Labour and Member of Parliament for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, provided her perspective on human resource and employment issues in Atlantic Canada. The event also included presentations on the Atlantic Agricultural Leadership Program and the PEI Farm Technician Apprenticeship Program.

Led by industry and funded by the Government of Canada's Sector Council Program, the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council was created in 2006 to address primary agriculture's most pressing challenges related to the recruitment and retention of farm labour and skills training for employers and employees. The work of the Council is guided by a Board of Directors that represents provincial and commodity groups across Canada.

SOURCE THE CANADIAN AGRICULTURAL HUMAN RESOURCE COUNCIL (CAHRC)

For further information: For further information: or to arrange an interview please contact: Noëlla LeBlanc, Communications Coordinator, Cell: (613) 513-5173, leblanc@cahrc-ccrha.ca

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THE CANADIAN AGRICULTURAL HUMAN RESOURCE COUNCIL (CAHRC)

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