Farmers Wanted: The Labour Renewal Canada Needs To Build the Next Green Revolution

Key findings

  • By 2033, 40% of Canadian farm operators will retire, placing agriculture on the cusp of one of the biggest labour and leadership transitions in the country’s history.
  • Over the same period, a shortfall of 24,000 general farm, nursery and greenhouse workers is expected to emerge.
  • 66% of producers do not have a succession plan in place, leaving the future of farmland in doubt.
  • These gaps loom at a time when Canada’s existing agricultural workforce needs to evolve to include skills like data analytics, environmental science and climate-smart practices that enable us to grow more food with fewer emissions.
  • Through short-, medium-, and long-term policies, Canada can establish the digitally savvy agricultural workforce needed to make our country a global leader in low carbon, sustainable food production.
  • To offset a short-term skills crisis, we’ll need to attract 30,000 permanent immigrants over the next decade to establish their own farms and greenhouses or take over existing ones.
  • To meet our medium and long-term goals, we’ll need to build a new pipeline of domestic operators and workers by bolstering education and increasing the R&D spending behind productivity-enhancing automation.
  • Other nations, like Japan and New Zealand, are rapidly deploying national strategies to tackle similar challenges. They are offering incentives to operators who become more autonomous and unlocking pathways for foreign skilled workers and new farmers. Canada needs to act fast.