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Agriculture employers can get cost-share for hiring Canadian youth

The federal government invested $9.2 million to enhance the Youth Employment and Skills Program and fund 700 new positions for youth in the agriculture industry.

May 28, 2020  By Potatoes in Canada

The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an investment of up to $9.2 million to enhance the Youth Employment and Skills Program (YESP) and fund up to 700 new positions for youth in the agriculture industry.

The YESP will provide agriculture employers up to 50 per cent of the cost of hiring a Canadian youth up to $14,000. Indigenous applicants and those applicants hiring a youth facing barriers are eligible for funding of up to 80 per cent of their costs.

Additionally, the program offers 100 per cent of costs for relocation to a maximum of $5,000 if the employee must relocate for the position. This additional feature is key for agriculture employers who are located in rural areas and with less access to labour.


This additional funding will help the agriculture industry attract Canadian youth, ages 15 to 30, to their organizations to assist with labour shortages brought on by the pandemic. This program aims to provide youth, and particularly youth facing barriers to employment, with job experience in agriculture that will provide career-related work experience.

“Young Canadians are talented, ambitious, and hard-working, yet getting a strong start in the workforce can be challenging for many, especially during this uncertain time. This funding will go to support up to 700 jobs in agriculture and provide young people an opportunity to discover the limitless potential of the agriculture and agri-food industries,” said Bardish Chagger, minister of diversity and inclusion and youth, in a released statement.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) also tweeted about the news saying, “Anything that helps mitigate the labour shortages confronting [Canadian agriculture] is greatly appreciated.”

Eligible applicants include producers, agri-businesses, industry associations, provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous organizations and research facilities. Employers may apply for this funding retroactive to April 1, 2020, with projects to be completed by March 31, 2021.

The program lists an example of eligible projects that include:

  • farmers who wish to hire farm workers for planting and harvesting crops or managing livestock,
  • agricultural businesses, such as greenhouses, orchards, vineyards, vegetable producers who have labour needs,
  • small businesses who supply agricultural products or services,
  • and food processors in need of labour.

Application forms are available through the Youth Employment and Skills Program, or to get more information, please contact aafc.yesp-pecj.aac@canada.ca, or call: 1-866-452-5558.

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