Ottawa, March 9, 2022 – Food and Beverage Canada – Aliments et boissons Canada is pleased to have had the opportunity to participate in the Department of Finance’s consultations in advance of Federal Budget 2022.
Throughout COVID-19, Canada’s food and beverage manufacturers, as part of this country’s critical infrastructure, continued to operate, guaranteeing Canadians had the food they needed despite the uncertainty of the pandemic. To do that safely, food and beverage companies invested well over $1 billion to modify their plants and distribution centers and to implement measures to protect the safety of their workers. In turn, front line food workers demonstrated their commitment to Canadians by continuing to work on-site throughout the pandemic to ensure Canada’s grocery shelves were full.
Our 2022 Federal Budget submission, made on behalf of Canada’s food and beverage manufacturers, identifies federal policy and program measures that are necessary to support and strengthen Canada’s food sector through COVID-19 recovery and into the future. Through these recommendations, we are calling on the federal government to confirm its commitment to Canada’s food system and to partner with food and beverage manufacturers to address the systemic issues preventing Canada’s food system from realizing its potential.
The recommendations in this submission take into consideration the debilitating workforce crisis being faced by the sector, with vacancy rates averaging 25%. The inability to secure a strong and stable workforce is undermining our ability to support a domestic agriculture and food system.
You can find our full submission here.
Recommendation 1: We recommend that the federal government approve and implement the Emergency Foreign Worker Program as proposed by the food and beverage manufacturing sector to mitigate the sector’s immediate labour crisis and to stabilize the sector’s workforce.
Recommendation 2: Industry is taking the lead in developing a National Workforce Strategic Plan. We recommend that the federal government recognize this National Workforce Strategic Plan in Budget 2022, acknowledge its importance in fulfilling Ministers’ mandates to address chronic labour shortages in the agri-food sector, and commit to reviewing the project in the context of the 2023 Agri-Food Policy Framework.
Recommendation 3: We recommend that the federal government announce measures to incentivize automation by quickly leveraging existing funding programs, by accelerating depreciation, and by addressing regulatory barriers.
For more information, please contact:
Director of Communications, Food and Beverage Canada