All hands on deck: Agricultural labour in British Columbia and Nova Scotia




Leclerc, Amanda Lynn

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Canada is experiencing an agricultural labour shortage that will contribute to economic and food-security challenges if left unchecked. This qualitative study explores how horticultural farm owners and operators in British Columbia and Nova Scotia perceive domestic workers, temporary foreign workers, and labour-saving technologies in meeting growing labour demands. Seven semi-structured interviews were conducted over Zoom, from February to April 2022, with farmers from both provinces. A thematic analysis was conducted, and eight predominant themes were identified from the interviews. These themes included the nature of the work, the perceived nature of the workers, the role of technology in meeting labour demands and increasing efficiency, strategies for successful labour planning, consumer perceptions of and interest in farming, farmer values and job satisfaction, external challenges impacting labour, and other opportunities being pursued by farmers. From this research, four broad categories of recommendations were proposed to support horticultural farmers in recruiting and retaining domestic workers, temporary foreign workers, and in adopting and implementing labour-saving technology.



agricultural labour, domestic worker, temporary foreign worker, labour-saving technology, automation, horticulture, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Agriculture, labour