The BC Government has announced the launch of a new online resource that will connect people with jobs in the agriculture sector.
The government said the resource will make it easier to learn about jobs and careers in the sector, while providing farmers, seafood businesses and food processors with a one-stop-shop to support hiring operations.
“Many British Columbians are passionate about buying local and are looking towards careers in the agricultural, seafood and food processing sectors. We are making it easier for employers and employees to connect so we can fill vacancies and get more British Columbians working to put fresh and local food on our tables,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “At the same time, 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 resource, which is being called the B.C. Farm, Fish and Food Job Connector, will showcase current job vacancies for crop and seafood harvesters, food processing and farmworkers, agrologists, large machinery operators and marketing specialists, according to the government.
The site also has sector-specific information and support for businesses as they navigate industry changes as a result of COVID-19.
“Farmers in B.C. are in a tough spot because of COVID-19, and our need for labour is at the top of the list,” said Jason Smith, owner of Fraser Berry Farms Ltd. “I appreciate the B.C. government’s efforts in responding to those concerns through this website, which I’m hoping will introduce my farm and family to people looking to join our business and help us share our great tasting, healthy berries with British Columbians this season.”
The new agriculture career hub will pull job postings from a number of sources including Work BC, industry sites and BC Food and Beverage websites, said the government.
“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. The berry industry urgently needs seasonal workers interested in harvesting and packing jobs. Many farms also have longer-term positions available in field and crop management and quality control, and this site could connect us to those people,” said Parm Bains, owner of Westberry Farms.
Another focus, adds the government, will be for the resource to become a centralized source of information and tools provided by B.C.’s industry groups.
“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, Western Agriculture Labour Initiative. “We appreciate the work that the Province is doing to help farmers and ranchers connect with those looking for employment opportunities during these changing times.”