Canada’s 2021 budget increased funding to encourage young people to work in agriculture.
Funds valued at $21.4 million is being made through the Youth Employment and Skills Program (YESP) to help agri-food employers fill vacant positions with people between the ages of 15 and 30.
Released in April, the federal budget earmarks $109.3 million in 2022-23 for a youth employment strategy. The money earmarked for agriculture jobs will fill an estimated 2,000 positions offered by producers, agri-businesses, industry associations, governments and research centres.
“By doubling our youth jobs program, we are providing thousands of young people with rewarding experiences that could lead to a career in agriculture,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture Canada. “In a time of labour shortages, this enhancement will also allow many employers to fill vacant positions.”
Ryan Kasko, an Alberta feedlot owner, participated in the virtual press conference to share his experience of hiring two young women with YESP funding.
Our farmers need help on the farm & our youth need opportunities to gain good work experience.
📢We’re announcing $21.4 M to boost the Youth Employment & Skills Program that will fund ~2,000 jobs for #YouthinAg.
— Marie-Claude Bibeau (@mclaudebibeau) May 5, 2021
“When you see a young woman driving a big front-end loader or sorting cattle, they can surprise themselves,” Kasko said. “They also inspire the people working with them too, that is always exciting for the person and the people around them.”
Employers hiring young people through the program can have up to 50 percent of the employee’s wage covered, or a maximum of $14,000. Up to $5,000 is now being offered to relocate or house an employee, if required.