Food Service Trio - © 2021

Ontario Attacks Food Service Employment Crisis

The Ontario government, in cooperation with the Canadian Government, is funding a new program to help connect food service workers seeking jobs with food service industry employers. Food service companies are facing a severe labour shortage just as their industry opens up again…

Food Service Workers - 2 - ©foodsafetynews.comJust 2 members of the invisible (behind the scenes) army of food service workers
who make your take-out, delivery and supermarket experiences possible!


Addressing a major need

According to a news release, out yesterday: “Ontario’s more than 4,000 food processing operations represent the province’s largest manufacturing sector employer but growing the workforce continues to be a challenge. […] Labour market analysis by Food Processing Skills Canada has shown that the industry across Canada will have an employment gap of up to 54,000 people by 2025. Poor industry perceptions, language barriers, limited outreach to underrepresented demographics and a skills mismatch have all been factors in recruiting people.”

So, the Ontario and Canadian governments have partnered on development of a new program called CareersNOW!, administered through Food and Beverage Ontario, designed to  rapidly respond to immediate job vacancies in the food and beverage processing sector and attract talent for the future.

“CareersNOW! will optimize Food and Beverage Ontario’s initiatives Taste Your Future to profile careers, and expand Frontline Food Facts to provide essential skills training and new opportunities for employment,” the release explains. “Delivering targeted employer resources  will round out the program. CareersNOW! was developed with project partners – Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada, FoodGrads, Food Processing Skills Canada, Magnet, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Meat & Poultry Ontario, University of Guelph and the Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium.”

Sure sounds like a big job!

But, clearly, somebody’s got to do it.

“Workers in the food and beverage sector are heroes that have been working tirelessly to keep shelves stocked for hard-working families. This new program will encourage more people to join these rewarding careers, making them and their communities more stronger than ever,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

“People have recognized that food and beverage processing is an essential and resilient sector. Food and Beverage Ontario is leveraging this heightened level of awareness by supporting businesses with employment resources that can be activated quickly through technology solutions proven in other sectors,” said Chris Conway, of Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO). FBO describes itself as the leading industry leadership association for the food service sector in the province of Ontario – a community that contributes over $42 billion annually and is the number one manufacturing employer in Ontario.

My take

So, next time you order take-out or delivery, or pick up a product off the shelf in the produce department at your local supermarket, remember the service ‘machine’ behind the supply, preparation and service of your food. And be thankful that your government is spending some of your tax dollars on keeping that machine well-oiled!

~ Maggie J.