Quebec and Ontario have announced new programs to provide Canadians with jobs in the agri-food sector. 

The government of Quebec will be paying people a $100 a week bonus on top of their regular wages for anyone who works on a farm this summer. 

Premier François Legault announced the measures on Friday in an attempt to fill 8,500 spots desperately needed for the season. 

Workers could make an additional $2.50 to $4 an hour this summer through the bonus. The additional pay would also be on top of another $100 a week essential service workers are receiving from a provincial government program. 

“I know that it’s not an easy job, but I think it will be a nice experience,” said Legault. 

Ontario also revealed that it has spent an additional $1 million in new funding to connect people with in-demand agri-food jobs. 

The funds are being implemented in partnership with the federal government and would expedite the job application process to quickly connect people with work. 

“This is a very labour-intensive sector so it is critical to attract more people to ensure our food supply chain continues to provide healthy and nutritious food to Ontario families during this COVID-19 outbreak,” said Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman in a government news release. 

“Our government is doing everything possible to ensure we support our farmers and food processors to fill job vacancies, including the development of a new web portal connecting workers with employers.”

True North Founder Candice Malcolm recently called for Canada to suspend its temporary foreign worker program and instead match unemployed young Canadians looking for work experience with farmers in desperate need of labour during planting season. 

“With so many young people out of work — so many of whom are desperate to get work experience, pay off debt and save for the future — it defies logic that our government is paying these young workers to stay at home, while also recruiting temporary foreign workers (TFW) to come fill jobs that have been deemed essential services,” wrote Malcolm in a column for the Toronto Sun. 

Prospective workers can use an online portal to connect with employers in Ontario. Those interested in finding similar work in Quebec can search for relevant employment here.

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