Helping temporary ag workers get back to work

Helping temporary ag workers get back to work
Apr 27, 2022

The B.C. government is providing funding to Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society

By Diego Flammini
Saff Writer

The British Columbia government is helping provide temporary ag workers with training to help them get back to work after extended delays following the floods in the Fraser Valley.

Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society (PICS), which provides services to new immigrants, seniors, farm workers, women and youth, will receive $500,000 from the provincial government.

This funding will help as many as 30 workers get skills training for jobs in the greenhouse sector as landscape and horticulture technicians.

The training will include Emergency First Aid Level 1, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, forklift operating, ladder safety, fall protection and Foodsafe.

The workers will receive 16 weeks of training, four weeks of local work experience and two weeks of support to help with job searching.

“From vegetables and flowers to trees and shrubs, local greenhouse growers produce many of the vibrant plants enjoyed by people, pollinators and animals in our province.” said Lana Popham, minister of agriculture and food, said in a statement. “I’m excited to welcome program participants, including those transitioning from fur farming, into their new careers in the greenhouse sector and wish them success in their new careers in agriculture.”

British Columbia employs the second-largest number of temporary agricultural workers in Canada.

The province had 8,564 seasonal agricultural workers in 2020, Stats Canada says. Only Ontario had more, with 22,834.

This kind of employment training program helps address labour shortages and market demands, sand Raj Hundal, director of employment programs and planning with PICS.

This project creatively addresses community and labour market needs in a sector that has been experiencing chronic workforce shortages,” he said in a statement. “It also provides displaced mink-farm workers, immigrants and agricultural workers an opportunity to build and gain new skills so they can remain in the agriculture and horticulture industry. It’s a win-win situation.”

Anyone interested in learning more about this program or others like it are encouraged to contact a local WorkBC centre.

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