Federal and Ontario government announce $4M investment to try and build a competitive food manufacturing workforce
by CM Staff
Eligible food processing businesses with 50 or more employees can apply for up to $80,000 in funding, or up to $200,000 for collaborations between two or more businesses.
TORONTO — The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing $4 million to try and build a strong and competitive agri-food workforce. The second round of the Ontario Agri-Careers Support Initiative, which opens on Jul. 28 and closes on September 8, 2022, provides funding for pilot projects that are tailor-made to address employee needs at a local level.
“By working together through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, we’re ensuring Ontario has a skilled workforce to support its crucial food processing sector,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. “This investment in Agri-Careers helps Ontario’s food processors meet growing labour challenges, while remaining competitive here and around the world.”
Eligible food processing businesses with 50 or more employees can apply for up to $80,000 in funding, or up to $200,000 for collaborations between two or more businesses, to cover up to 70 per cent of eligible project costs. Selected projects will aim to help the sector attract, support and retain the workers it needs to continue producing food made in Ontario, strengthen the local supply chain and promote greater food security.
Examples of pilot projects that could be eligible for funding include:
- transportation initiatives for employees to commute to the job site
- childcare options for working parents
- language proficiency solutions for workers with English as a second language
- improving workspace environments.
“We need all hands-on deck to tackle the historic labour shortage in Ontario, so that shelves are stocked, and families have food on their table,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “That’s why our government is supporting the Ontario Agri-Careers Support Initiative, which will prepare job seekers for exciting careers in agri-food and spread opportunity to every corner of our province.”
The Ontario Agri-Careers Support Initiative builds on the first intake that was announced in February and follows an additional $1.5-million labour intake under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) that was announced last October.
“As the province’s largest manufacturing sector by employment, programs like the Ontario Agri-Careers Support Initiative are vital to supporting the important work of the food and beverage processing sector,” said Chris Conway, CEO of Food and Beverage Ontario.