What The Ontario Agri-Careers Support Initiative Really Means for Employees

The Ontario Agri-careers Support Initiative works to provide higher pay and better benefits. But let’s be honest, a slight bump in salary won’t mean much to you when you’re maneuvering your shift in order to care for your children – the increase won’t compensate for the prohibitive cost of childcare in Ontario.

Neither will it create a company culture that benefits your well-being at home and work. Even worse, you have greater needs than buying a car or taking a language training course yourself.

Its partnership with food and beverage manufacturing employers makes certain that your workplace has programs that solve:

  • Transit 
  • Language barrier 
  • Childcare
  • Poor employee benefits
  • And your overall well-being as an employee 

All of which are responsible for the current labour shortage in the sector. 

About the Ontario Agri-careers Support Initiative

The Ontario Agri-careers Support Initiative addresses particular employee problems at the community-based level to help food processing businesses attract and retain top talent just like you.

Companies that successfully implement the projects will share their results and lessons as part of a final report that will be used as a best practices tool for building a robust labour force in the industry.

The initiative will fund up to 70% of the project costs while the employer funds the rest. Successful applicants must have over 50 workers, a labour shortage, and the ability to pilot innovative solutions for attracting and retaining workers.

So, what are some eligible projects? What does that mean for you as a food manufacturing worker?

Transportation initiatives for employees to commute to the job site

If transportation has been a nagging problem for you, the support initiative can solve the challenges of local transportation by offering:

  • Carpool programs
  • Transit pass subsidy
  • Last mile services
  • Taxi or rideshare subsidy

Carpool programs, for instance, allow you to share a ride with your colleagues, making it easy to commute if you don’t have a car. For those of you interested in protecting the environment, carpooling can help with local traffic congestion and reduce the company’s carbon footprint. Empowering to work with food production employers that care about the environment.

You may live in areas where bus routes don’t connect to your job’s location, or you may hit a snag when bus hours conflict with your shift. Implementing commuting programmes like these could literally help you get to work.

Childcare options while parents are at work

33% of workers in Canada have difficulty finding childcare, and 10% of parent workers have changed their work schedule due to unavailable childcare.

What’s more, 10% of employees cite high costs as the main reason for not having childcare.

Your schedule may not be the typical 9a-5p as a food & beverage processing employee making childcare difficult to find.

But food and beverage manufacturing facilities work around the clock seven days a week, which makes childcare an essential perk. The Ontario Agri-Careers Support Initiative incentivizes companies in the industry to offer you access to childcare during the weekend and night shifts.

Therefore, 27% of mothers who work non-standard hours won’t have to sacrifice promotions and career opportunities to balance childcare responsibilities and work.

With less than 2% of childcare facilities in the country operating at night and on the weekends, there has never been a more substantial need for the initiative than now.


Language proficiency solutions for workers with English as a second language

In 2021, 198,530 new immigrants settled in Ontario, and one of the biggest challenges for these immigrants is the language barrier. If English is a second language for you, a company offering a programme to help you break through the shortcomings of learning another language may be ideal.

As there is no magic potion to adopting a second language, you may see companies giving you access to:

  • Training software
  • ESL training (English as a Second Language)
  • New hire translation services

These tools can make it easier to communicate with your colleagues and bosses at work. Then you’ll be able to receive and implement feedback and provide ideas that elevate your workplace and career.

Even more, you will settle just fine in your new home as you experience a smooth time interacting with neighbours, vendors, and newly made friends, making your overall adjustment a breeze.

Result? A more acclimated and satisfied you.  

Improving workspace environments to help retain employees

In your job search, you may come across companies offering employee-friendly amenities supported by the Ontario Agri-Careers Support Initiative. The funding from the support initiative helps your prospective employers:

  • Perform a needs assessment
  • Carry out employee satisfaction surveys
  • Offer employee amenities, e.g., computer labs, fitness rooms, childcare, and religious accommodations

These particular items help define what it is you need to perform your job, succeed, and feel more satisfied at work. But that’s not all.

The funding also encourages employers to offer a wider range of employee benefits for you and your family, such as:

  • Continuing adult education
  • Implementing an employee assistance program pilot
  • In-house tech training

As a food production worker, you want a workplace that supports your overall well-being, and solves work-related issues both at home and work. For instance, in 2018, 63% of Canadian adults were either obese or overweight, making a health-conscious company culture (fitness rooms, healthy snacks, and gym subscriptions) more appealing to a significant portion of the food production workforce.

That said, workplace amenities and well-being programs ensure you have more skin in the game when it comes to your overall employee satisfaction.


The Bottom line

Ontario's food and beverage manufacturing sector is the third largest in North America, with over $34 billion in sales. Therefore, the significance of fixing the labour shortage in Ontario and throughout Canada cannot be overlooked.

While a simple benefits program can do a lot in getting you to apply, but it won’t make you stay. The Ontario Agri-Careers Support Initiative steps in to fill those gaps and make food manufacturing companies more to attractive to you.

Does your potential employer know about the program? Are they a part of it? Be sure to ask these questions as they will inform you of the types of benefits you are likely to receive. 

How QTalent can help…

QTalent removes the need to work with multiple platforms where you have to filter through irrelevant roles to get close to the jobs you want.

It’s your one-stop shop for a career in the food and beverage manufacturing sector.

QTalent serves you in a number of ways:

  • Offers a detailed candidate profile that sells you to potential employers
  • Shows company locations and commute times
  • Provides detailed information on employers
  • Sends you job alerts for positions you qualify for

Sign up today to get started on your candidate profile to get the ball rolling.

Brittany Brooks


Brittany Brooks has worked in Human Resources as an HR specialist and manager for 10 years. After that time, she decided to use her powers for the good of the workplace. She uses her first-hand experiences in her writing to give employees and business owners an honest look into what’s happening at work.

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