On Thursday, April 28, the Ontario government announced its pre-election budget for 2022. With respect to Ontario’s agriculture and food sector, there was an emphasis on strengthening our domestic food supply chain with investments aimed at supporting labour needs and issues, including attraction, retention and shortages.
Ontario needs to ensure it has an adequate supply of labour to preserve and protect our food sovereignty and food security. Strengthening the agri-food labour force and addressing supply chain vulnerabilities can help to support our sector’s continued growth, contributing to the provincial economy.
A key priority for the organization, in the lead up to the election on June 2, is the need to prioritize skill development and training throughout the value chain to help make it easier for employers to find, train, and retain the workforce they need.
OFA is pleased to see a focus set on addressing critical labour needs and we look forward to collaborative efforts to implement and execute the investments for agriculture outlined in the pre-election budget.
Summary of highlights for the agri-food sector:
- Investing $10 million in 2022–23 to establish a Food Security and Supply Chain Fund to strengthen Ontario’s food supply, including addressing barriers to recruitment by attracting and retaining domestic workers, closing sector skill gaps, and supporting the well‐being of workers;
- Providing $10 million in 2022–23 for ongoing support and expansion of the Enhanced Agri‐Food Workplace Protection Program to help farms and agri‐food operations take additional measures to support the health and safety of agri‐food workers;
- Allocating $5 million in 2022–23 for emergency support initiatives to help livestock producers if emergency processing disruptions occur. For example, the beef set‐aside programs will help Ontario farmers to deal with increased costs related to market delays; and
- Protecting the health and safety of incoming international agricultural workers through a $2.6 million investment that will include a welcome centre with health resources, as well as additional vaccination clinics.
For more information about Ontario’s 2022 budget, click here.