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Labour shortages putting Canada's food supply 'at risk': Report

Chronic labour shortages are taking a toll on Canada's agri-businesses, CFIB finds

Around three-quarters of agri-business owners are working overtime to make up for labour shortages, a new study finds. 

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) said nearly half of those businesses (48%) have had to turn down sales contracts and 41% have had to cut down on their service offerings due to lack of staff. 

These challenges are compounded by the rising prices of inputs (94%) and supply chain disruptions (83%), according to CFIB’s Help Wanted: Labour Shortages Threaten the Future of Canadian Agriculture report.

"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. In a recent survey we found that almost two-thirds (61%) of agri-business owners turned to their existing employees to work more hours due to lack of staff," said Jasmin Guenette, vice-president of national affairs at CFIB, in a statement. "The prevailing labour shortages in agriculture must be addressed. It limits productivity and growth and is putting Canada's food supply at risk."

CFIB is calling on policy makers to help agri-businesses by: reducing the total tax burden, including payroll taxes and the federal carbon tax; streamlining and simplifying the Temporary Foreign Worker and immigration processes and programs; providing tax relief for the hiring of older workers and other underrepresented groups; and stimulating automation in the sector through programs or tax credits. 

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