Canada’s Food Supply

The COVID-19 crisis threatens our food supply in many ways. While serious challenges lie ahead, it is important to know our agriculture and agribusiness sector is resourceful and resilient. And as Canadians in these uncertain times, we must do our part to support farmers and workers. Our food supply depends on many people to bring food from farm to plate. Like healthcare workers, these Canadians play an essential role in our well-being and security.

Farmers need workers, now. While the federal government is offering special support to farmers, many will not get all the seasonal foreign workers they need to plant, tend and harvest this year’s crops. Canadian workers and students are called upon to answer this urgent need. Without enough farm labour, crop yields will likely drop which means less food and higher food prices for Canadians this fall.

The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting our food supply in other areas from food processors and manufacturers to grocery chains and restaurants.

Recently, several major meat processors temporarily shut down operations to protect workers and consumers. Major packers and processors are looking for more workers as they re-tool operations that address worker health and safety.

Grocery chains are undergoing massive transformation to support online and pick-up food delivery options. As an example, Walmart Canada is seeking 10,000 added workers to meet consumer demand for ‘no-contact’ food delivery.

COVID-19 has gutted employment in the restaurant industry with hundreds of thousands out of work. This important sector of our economy is having to re-invent itself and pivot to more pick-up and delivery options.

With demand from this sector at a historic low, food processors are shifting their production to meet increased demands from grocery consumers.