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Who's hiring during COVID-19? 6,000-8,000 agriculture jobs need to be filled in B.C.
VANCOUVER -- Farmers are among those in B.C. raising concerns about their industry recovering from the pandemic.
Many of the province's growers say they're facing a labour shortage, and are looking for workers to harvest this year's crop.
Also looking for employees are those in the seafood and food processing sectors.
"COVID-19 has meant there is no such thing as 'business as usual.' It has disrupted the workforce to a point that we're expecting a shortfall of approximately 6,000 to 8,000 seasonal agricultural labourers across B.C.," Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said Thursday.
The minister announced the launch of a website meant to connect would-be workers with employers.
The site, called the B.C. Farm, Fish and Food Job Connector, will include postings for jobs such as seafood harvesting, large machinery operation, marketing and farm work.
Meant to serve as a centralized source, it will include posts from Work BC, specific industry sites and the BC Food and Beverage site, the ministry said.
Postings in more than 30 communities in B.C. will be featured, the government says. It estimated there were around 600 jobs available in those sectors.
Users can choose an industry from a list that includes brief descriptions of those jobs and the skills required.
The site also lists salary ranges. For example, the "Managers in Agriculture" section suggests employees could earn anywhere from minimum wage to $6,000 a month, and the amount of physical labour is estimated as "medium to high."
Skills under that category include decision making, time management and people skills.
When a category is chosen, the job applicant is taken to the Work BC website, where they can view jobs by title.
Under "farms," there were 442 results as of Thursday afternoon. Postings ranged from the vice-president of finance for a Richmond-based company (with a salary up to $150,000 a year) to minimum wage labour jobs, which are seasonal only.
Earlier this month, a farmer spoke to CTV News about his struggle to find workers to pick berries at his farm.
He said some have told him they'd rather stay home and collect the Canada Emergency Response Benefit than work at the farm. He admitted the jobs on his farm don't pay much more than the government's offer. https://bc.ctvnews.ca/they-d-rather-stay-home-farmer-struggling-to-hire-workers-who-are-collecting-cerb-1.4931833
But a larger issue is a lack of temporary foreign workers often employed for those seasonal jobs.