Updated: Nov 21
Record-setting economic growth in Alberta’s agriculture and agri-food sector has ignited demand for workers across the province.
To support producers and processors, Alberta, in partnership with the federal government, is providing $2.5 million to Ag for Life to help companies recruit, hire and retain workers in the agriculture and agri-food industry.
Since 2011, Ag for Life has delivered agriculture education to over half a million Albertans across the province. As a charitable organization, Ag for Life works with producers to develop high-quality programming to inspire a better understanding of the integral role agriculture plays in our economy.
“Canada needs more skilled workers to help strengthen our workforce. Through our investments in skills development and employment services, we’re working with provinces and territories to ensure that, across Canada, more skilled workers can be hired and retained. Last year, almost 97,000 Albertans were supported under the federal labour market transfers with Alberta. This funding is critical to supporting Ag for Life, reaching more Albertans with labour market training supports and ensuring that employers have the skilled workers they need.”
Carla Qualtrough, federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
The funding will provide eligible organizations with grants of up to $40,000 to increase public awareness of agricultural career opportunities through online advertising campaigns.
“Alberta’s agriculture sector continues to grow and set new investment and export records despite facing numerous challenges. This funding will help producers and processors with their labour needs so they can remain competitive, grow their businesses, and respond to an international food shortage.”
Nate Horner, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation
As part of the funding, Ag for Life will also offer grants of up to $25,000 to provide organizations with human resources training to support worker retention.
“The agriculture and agri-food industry are major job creators that fuel Alberta’s economic growth. This funding offers valuable support to Alberta employers and helps them succeed in our thriving economy. Supporting jobs in agriculture means creating prosperity for Albertans.”
Brian Jean, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Northern Development
“With a mandate of advancing agriculture literacy and career pathways, Ag for Life is excited to see this funding support Alberta producers and processors so they can continue to attract, grow and retain a strong workforce now and into the future.”
Luree Williamson, CEO, Agriculture for Life, Inc.
Funding is being provided through the Canada-Alberta Labour Market Development Agreement.
Eligible companies can apply for the grant through Ag for Life until March 2024.
In 2021, food manufacturing was the largest industry in the province (23.8 per cent of provincial manufacturing sales), ahead of petroleum and coal product manufacturing (22.7 per cent) and chemical manufacturing (16.8 per cent).
Food manufacturing sales continued an upward trend, reaching a record $20.1 billion.
In 2021, value-added exports grew for the eighth consecutive year to $8.2 billion, up 23.4 per cent from 2020, representing 58.4 per cent of Alberta’s total agri-food exports.
Higher exports of beef, canola oil (crude and refined), oilseed cake and meal, processed potatoes and prepared animal feeds contributed to the increase.
Exports of beef, the largest value-added product, jumped 40 per cent to a record $3.5 billion.
In 2021, agri-food industries employed 58,300 Albertans, with 35,900 in primary agriculture and 22,400 in food and beverage manufacturing.
There were about 2,500 temporary foreign workers in Alberta’s agriculture sector and 1,900 in Alberta’s agri-food sector. This represents about seven per cent of the workforce for these sectors.
Visit the grant page to learn more: