March 1, 2017

Labour shortages expected to continue

New research suggests that Canada’s horticulture industries are at risk of becoming increasingly vulnerable to labour fluctuations, as their dependence on foreign labour sources rises rapidly, the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) says.

The CAHRC has completed a three-year study on Canada’s horticultural industries, which examined labour-related issues and provided labour market forecasts to 2025. The research revealed that in 2014, horticulture accounted for 107,700 jobs. However, an additional 5,800 jobs went unfilled as a result of domestic labour shortages, and these shortages cost $353 million in lost sales. As horticulture’s labour issues worsen, those costs are likely to rise.

Key factors affecting horticulture’s increasing dependence on foreign labour over the next 10 years include a high rate of retirement among current domestic workers, a shortage of domestic workers with the needed skills and experience, negative industry perceptions among domestic workers, and the tendency of horticultural operations to be located in rural areas where housing and transportation pose challenges. The Greenhouse, Nursery and Floriculture Report can be downloaded at