TORONTO — Groups that advocate for Ontario’s farmers say a worker shortage could threaten the harvest of some crops across the province.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, and the Canada Horticultural Council say the shortages exist on many farms across the province because of the pandemic.
The groups are urging the federal and provincial governments to provide resources to farmers to attract local workers, provide greater access to harvest equipment, and more personal protective equipment.
They say COVID-19 has affected the flow of temporary foreign workers into the country despite the federal government deeming them essential several months ago.
A report from Statistics Canada today says while the workers represent less than three per cent of Canada’s total workforce, they made up over a quarter of the country’s employees in crop production in 2017.
Approximately 20,000 migrant workers come to Ontario each year to work on farms and in greenhouses from Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean.