AgSector Update

As we kick off the 2020 season, things look quite different this year. Not only are we taking extra precautions to ensure our health and the health of our loved ones, we are also faced with challenges that are unique to the situation at hand. Farms are having to adapt their practices, make adjustments to processes and machinery – all in the interest of public health.

One challenge, that isn’t new to our farms this year but will indeed be magnified, is the labour shortage we face. According to the 2017 LMI data collected by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council, Nova Scotia agriculture employed over 6,500 workers – including 1,500 Temporary Foreign Workers – and even still, we experienced a labour gap of 250 jobs. As you will read in this edition of the News & Views, NSFA along with our national counterparts CFA, and provincial colleagues; Perennia and the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, have been working tirelessly on the Temporary Foreign Worker file. While workers have slowly begun to arrive in the province – we expect a significate labour gap this year compared to years previous.

In an effort to help lessen the labour gap that Nova Scotia farms will experience this year especially, we have launched three new pieces on the NSFA website. First, is a page for farms to post job availability on their operations. All you have to do is answer all the necessary questions and a job description will be formulated. After being reviewed by NSFA staff, it will be posted on the newly developed job board on the NSFA website. The second piece as mentioned above, is our new job board. This board will house all of the incoming job postings for farms and agricultural related businesses. The third piece is an employee registration, where potential employees can fill out a registration form highlighting their skills and location. Jobs in their area will then be emailed to them. To learn more, or to post your own job openings please visit:!

We encourage you to submit any openings you have on your operations, as the information gathered will also support our advocacy on the labour gap and challenges in filling that gap.

Our hope is that this job board and the promotion of job opportunities in agriculture will help inspire our fellow Nova Scotians to consider a career in agriculture.

Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC)

NSFA receives AgriLMI data from CAHRC – AgriLMI is a program focused on assessing the current agricultural labour market, projecting the future supply and demand for agricultural workers, and recommending potential solutions to the sector’s labour issues. This data provides us with additional insights and assists our advocacy efforts for the labour gap in Nova Scotia. The stats provided above come from CAHRC’s LMI data.

CAHRC also has a number of great resources at your disposal. Not only are they constantly uploading new content to their COVID-19 resource page, they have an FAQ on COVID-19 and a number of resources and informative tips that can be found on their website.

Another great resource is their AgriHR Toolkit which is designed to address the unique needs of the agriculture industry. Based on years of research and field testing conducted in Canada and internationally, this toolkit offers everything you need to improve your people-management skills and develop key resources to help you find, retain, and support your employees. Topics covered in this toolkit include:

  • Recruitment, Selection and Hiring
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Worker Performance
  • Succession Planning
  • Workforce Planning
  • HR Policies
  • Health and Safety
  • Workplace Wellness
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Foreign Workers

NSFA members are able to access the AgriHR Toolkit at no cost by using the discount code: NSFA2020.

Just a reminder, labour is provincially regulated so we encourage farmers to refer to the NS Labour Standards Code to ensure provincial compliance. Specifically in relation to the “Health and Safety” section of the AgriHR Toolkit, we encourage farmers to use our robust “Guide to Your Farm Safety Plan.” (, which we can guarantee meets the NS Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations.