The following piece is from our sister publication, Spud Smart.
There are fewer people working in the Canadian agriculture sector as of 2021, an April 13 news release from Statistics Canada said. There were 276,977 employees in the agriculture sector in 2021, down 0.6 per cent from 2020.
The release noted that almost half of all ag workers were employed in the horticulture industry, with greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production leading the charge at 61,015 employees. Vegetable and melon followed at 35,028 people and fruit and tree nut farms at 31,037 workers.
Statistics Canada also said almost half of all ag employees at 49.9 per cent were seasonal workers. Over one-fifth of those worked in greenhouse, nursery and floriculture operations at 21.9 per cent.
Farms in Ontario hired the most employees at 79,382 people — which is down 0.6 per cent from the previous year. British Columbia saw an increase in workers following two years of declines, rising two per cent to 34,934 in 2021.
The release also noted there were 10.6 per cent more temporary foreign workers employed in 2021 at 60,992. Jobs held by temporary foreign workers accounted for almost one-quarter of all agriculture jobs in Canada at 24.3 per cent.
“This was the largest increase since 2016, after a year marked by challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the release said.
Over four-fifths of all temporary foreign workers came from Mexico at 44.1 per cent, Guatemala at 24.1 per cent and Jamaica at 14.8 per cent. Over two in five temporary foreign workers were working in Ontario at 25,822 people, with just over half working in greenhouse, nursery and floriculture operations, the release said.