Producers needed to examine NOSs for six commodities

Ottawa, ON – The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) needs producer volunteers to participate in focus groups that examine the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for the commodities of apples, crops, honey, mushrooms, potatoes and turf.

These NOSs will then be further developed into meaningful tools and inform training programs based on what producers indicate are the best ways of doing business. To date, 20 National Occupational Standards have been developed with input from 270 industry stakeholders for the pork, sheep, aquaculture, beef and poultry commodities.

Producers can find dates, times and places for focus groups across Canada at Participant expenses will be reimbursed.

The research is in support of two projects being conducted by CAHRC: the National Agricultural Occupational Framework and Labour Market Support (NAOF) and the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-food Workforce Action Plan (WAP).

“This research is important and meant to support employers in the industry,” explains Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, Executive Director of CAHRC. “The NAOF and WAP projects are building foundational information about modern agricultural work requirements to support increasing the supply of workers to meet the growing demands of the industry, and improving the skills and knowledge of the workforce, to address current and future requirements.”

NAOF is an in-depth study of the jobs and skills involved in today’s agricultural workforce with specific focus on 10 commodities. The information gathered through this research is being used to develop training and support tools for producers and workers, as well as a curriculum mapping tool that will assist educators to enhance and develop new curriculum that reflects the modern work done on farms today. In addition, this research is helping to develop a job matching tool that links employers with qualified job seekers and student interns.

The WAP examines issues of industry labour management and shortages. It is led by the national Labour Task Force and functions as a solution-oriented forum made up of industry representatives from across Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sectors. The consultative process has identified two recommendations: one is to increase the supply of agricultural labour (skilled and unskilled workers) and the other to improve the knowledge and skills of workers already in the industry. To date, 65 organizations are confirmed as Implementation Partners, lending support, credibility and a sense of urgency to addressing labour issues for the industry.

Industry participation is the cornerstone of the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council’s research with input, direction and guidance for all activities sought from agriculture and agri-food employers, employees, associations, education, and government at regional, provincial and national levels. Likewise, product development is done with similar consultations to ensure quality, accuracy and relevance of prepared solutions. This requires grass root participation in consultations at all stages.

“This is a critical stage for all producers to give their input as this research is clarifying workforce requirements and developing employer best practice tools,” explains MacDonald-Dewhirst.

The Council strives to act as a clearinghouse for best-practices and tools related to workforce availability, skills and knowledge. This is achieved by developing industry-specific ag HR solutions that are designed to be customizable to commodity and regional needs. Developed with Canadian producers in mind – all CAHRC products and services are practical, relevant and easy to use.

“CAHRC is in the business of building agricultural management expertise, rallying stakeholders and delivering solutions,” says MacDonald-Dewhirst. “The Council works with industry, government and educational stakeholders to research, develop and implement solutions to challenges in employment and skills development in agriculture.”

The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council works with industry leaders, governments and educational stakeholders to research, develop and communicate solutions to the challenges in employment and skills development in primary agriculture. The Council also leads collaborative implementation efforts in support of the national Workforce Action Plan for the agriculture and agri-food sector. For more information visit

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