Workforce development is the number one priority for Ontario’s food and beverage processing industry. Research has indicated that by 2025 the Ontario industry, or about 4,000 employers, will be short approximately 25,000 people. For an industry that is the number one manufacturing sector employer in Ontario providing jobs for over 125,000 individuals, the looming gap is serious.

In addition, to Food and Beverage Ontario’s CareersNOW! program, the organization is committed to delivering projects that provide direct support to employers in the industry. The workforce challenge is a complex one demanding multiple solutions and Food and Beverage Ontario is committed to offering and piloting a variety of initiatives with partners.

Workforce Language Training Pilot

Food and Beverage Ontario partnered with Mohawk College and the YMCA on a pilot project to support employers in more effectively hiring and retaining immigrant and newcomer employees that may struggle with English language proficiency. Six employers participated in the program that provided eight e-learning units of training in both independent e-learning on Onyx, the province’s learning management system, as well as Zoom for virtual instructor-led classes. The pilot delivered two cohorts of training with 62 individuals employed by the six participating employers. Individuals improved or became more confident in English because of the training.

Strategy for Jobs and Recovery in Ontario in Ontario's Food and Beverage Manufacturing Sector

Ontario’s food and beverage processing sector is leading the way in innovation and a driving force for productivity. Yet, as the sector advances to meet consumer tastes for an expanded variety of products and the growing global demand for food, the skills gap continues to grow. Food and Beverage Ontario is committed to supporting the sector in adapting to advancements in technology, meeting food safety requirements and further developing essential soft and technical skills in the workforce.

With this initiative, Food and Beverage Ontario is delivering on four key projects:

Survey members on priority labour issues to shape future advocacy and program design. 

Conduct an essential skilled trades pilot to identify issues around attracting and retaining skilled trades in the industry. 

Build on the CareersNOW! and City of Brampton Regional Workforce Pilot with additional pilots in other regions particularly challenges with labour attraction and retention.

Host an Employer Workplace Development & Culture Webinar Series to educate and support Ontario businesses.