VICTORIA — The British Columbia government has created a new online resource to help the province's agricultural sector find workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A statement from the Ministry of Agriculture says the B.C. Farm, Fish and Food Job Connector will highlight agriculture-related job vacancies while helping the industry adapt to recruitment in response to the pandemic.
The ministry says the connector will act as a one-stop shop to supporting the hiring and planning needs of farmers, seafood businesses and food processors.
It will also showcase job vacancies for work around B.C. in fields ranging from crop and seafood harvesters to food processors, farm workers, agrologists, machinery operators and marketing specialists.
The owner of Westberry Farms in Abbotsford says fallout from the new coronavirus has caused a serious labour shortage and the website will tell would-be workers about farmers who are hiring and need their help.
Parm Bains says the berry industry urgently needs seasonal workers for harvesting and packing, while some farms also have long-term positions.
Agriculture Minister Lana Popham says the website will help the industry and unemployed B.C. workers connect at a difficult time.
"We recognize the workforce challenges brought on by COVID-19 and are helping to address the need to establish a secure agricultural labour force so we can generate economic activity and maintain food security in our communities," Popham says in the statement.
Jobs are available in more than 30 communities across Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Okanagan and Vancouver Island, as well as in the Kootenays, Cariboo and northern B.C.
The B.C. Farm, Fish and Food Job Connector site can be found at www.bcagjobs.gov.bc.ca.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2020
The Canadian Press