Farm losses total 2.9 billion dollars in 2020 due to labour shortages

New research shows Canadian farmers lost earnings of 2.9 billion dollars last year due to labour shortages from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The research, commissioned by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council, says the losses were equivalent to 4.2 percent of total sales and resulted from a nationwide survey.

The executive director of the Human Resource Council, Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, says the agricultural sector saw a gross domestic product increase of 7 percent last year but labour shortages remain a problem.

She says labour shortages last year found two in five employers not able to find the needed workers, resulting in production delays and lost sales totalling 2.9 billion dollars.

The research revealed that fewer Canadians applied for jobs on farms in 2020, due mainly to additional pressures of family care, self-isolation, quarantine after travel and recovery from illness.

Last March, the number of temporary foreign workers was down 47 percent due to Covid-19.

Although many temporary foreign workers were able to arrive later in the season, the overall number was still significantly fewer than the previous year.

Farm operators indicate that dealing with a potential coronavirus outbreak and understanding changing safety measures are their top concerns this year.


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