MP Francis Drouin, for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, and Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, hosted a virtual event to announce an investment of up to $21.4 million to enhance the Youth Employment and Skills Program (YESP) and fund about 2,000 jobs for youth in the agriculture sector. They were joined by Chair of the Canadian Young Farmers’ Forum Justin Williams, and representatives from three past program participants: Delta, British Columbia’s Cropthorne Farm Ltd.; Coaldale, Alberta’s Kasko Cattle Co.; and St-Eugène, Ontario’s Les Fruits du Poirier.
The YESP aims to support agri-food employers and provide young Canadians between the ages of 15 and 30 with job experience in agriculture that could lead to a career working in the sector. In 2020, the Government of Canada invested $9.2 million for the YESP, to fund nearly 1,000 jobs.
Young people were among the hardest and fastest hit when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, experiencing more job losses than any other age demographic. Meanwhile, the agriculture sector has been facing increased difficulty accessing labour since the beginning of the pandemic. By promoting youth employment in the agriculture sector, the Government of Canada is ensuring a resilient food supply chain and keeping the sector strong.
“Now more than ever, young Canadians need support to launch their careers. Through the Youth Employment and Skills Program, the Government of Canada is helping more youth discover the limitless potential of careers in agriculture, while also enhancing the sector, which is vitally important to rural communities across Canada,” said MP Drouin.
Eligible applicants include producers, agri-businesses, industry associations, provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous organizations and research facilities. Support can cover the period from April 15, 2021 to March 31, 2022. Applications for the YESP are now being accepted and forms are available through the webpage (https://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/agricultural-programs-and-services/youth-employment-and-skills-program/?id=1557778999519). For more information, please contact [email protected], or call: 1-866-452-5558.