2019 Federal Budget Recognizes Labour, Competitiveness Issues as Key Priorities for Canadian Food & Beverage Business Success

Ottawa, March 19, 2019 – Food & Beverage Canada – Aliments et boissons Canada estimates that by 2025 food and beverage manufacturing businesses across Canada will have up to 100,000 unfilled positions. For an industry that currently employs over 240,000 people and is the number one manufacturing employer in the country, the labour situation is dire.

“The federal government’s 2019 budget demonstrates commitment to the future of food and beverage manufacturing in Canada and the thousands of people we employ,” said Michael Burrows, co-chair, FBC-ABC and chief executive officer, Maple Lodge Farms. “Measures focused on addressing the current labour situation – including a new three-year immigration pilot, Canada Training Credit for workers and support for underrepresented groups and small businesses – will help support industry’s own efforts to fill vacant jobs and enhance employee skills.”

The measures announced today are an excellent first step,” said FBC-ABC chief executive officer Kathleen Sullivan. “But solving the labour challenge for our members will require a comprehensive, Canada-wide approach that includes collaboration with federal and provincial governments to address labour shortages and skills training. We look forward to working with the Prime Minister on a long-term labour strategy.”

The 2019 Federal Budget highlights a number of measures that will address other industry competitiveness concerns including:

  • Support for Innovation – an additional $100 million from the Strategic Innovation Fund for agri-food value added production in Canada;
  • Local Food Infrastructure Fund – $50 million over 5 years to support infrastructure for local food projects, including at food banks, farmers markets and other community drive projects;
  • Buy Canadian Campaign – $25 million over 5 years for an advertising and marketing campaign to promote Canadian agriculture products;
  • Tackling Food Fraud – $24.4 million over 5 years to enhance federal capacity to detect and take enforcement action against food fraud; and
  • Food Waste Reduction Challenge – $20 million over 5 years to support innovative food waste reduction proposals.

Additionally, 2019 Budget signals a commitment to regulatory improvements that will enhance cooperation, reduce duplication and streamline processes. Digitizing Canadian Food Inspection Agency services and removing federal barriers to inter-provincial trade of alcohol are steps in the right direction to improve business competitiveness.

Food & Beverage Canada has been an active participant in the government’s budgeting processes, advocating for the recommendations developed by the Agri-food Economic Strategy Table in 2018, providing pre-budget consultation testimony to the Standing Committee on Finance, and participating in the Fall Economic Statement ‘lock up’ and Federal Budget 2019 ‘lock up’.

About Food & Beverage Canada

Food & Beverage Canada is an association of Canadian manufacturers and regional food and beverage processor associations from coast to coast representing over 1,500 businesses. The organization is committed to collaborative relationships and constructive communications with federal and provincial governments. The organization is located in Ottawa. Visit Food & Beverage Canada for more information on the organization.

Kathleen Sullivan
Chief Executive Officer
Food and Beverage Canada