Local Journalism Initiative
The B.C. Farm, Fish and Food Job Connector launched last Thursday to help employers in B.C.’s agriculture and food industries overcome severe staff shortages as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“B.C. berry growers are facing a serious labour shortage this season due to COVID-19, and this website is a good idea to let people know we are hiring and looking for their help,” said Parm Bains, owner of Westberry Farms. “The berry industry urgently needs seasonal workers interested in harvesting and packaging jobs.”
Jobs are listed in more than 30 communities across the country, including vacancies in Oliver, Okanagan Falls, Keremeos and Osoyoos. Positions vary from seasonal picking to full-time long term career opportunities.
The site comes as a response to the hard hit food processing and agricultural industries struggling during the COVID-19 crisis which has crippled production capabilities due to a lack of temporary foreign workers.
The new platform hopes to also help engage Canadians by providing helpful information on possible careers in the seafood, food processing, agriculture and farming industries, which generated a record setting $15 billion in revenue in 2018.
“Local labour has always been a critical part of British Columbia’s food system. Jobs in agriculture provide countless opportunities to grow your skills, expand your experiences and contribute to our sustainable food system,” said Rhonda Driediger, president of the Western Agriculture Labour Initiative.
There were close to 600 jobs available on the platform as of the announcement by the provincial government on May 28. Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham hopes that the platform will encourage more out of work British Columbians to support local food and beverage producers at a time when they need it the most.
“Many British Columbians are passionate about buying local and are looking towards careers in the agricultural, seafood and food processing sectors,” she said. “We recognize the workforce challenges brought on by COVID-19 and are helping to address the need to establish a secure agricultural labour force so we can generate economic activity and maintain food security in our communities.”
The B.C. Farm, Fish and Food Connector site can be found at www.bcagjobs.gov.bc.ca.