People are at the heart of sustainable farmingBy Egg Farmers of Canada
Egg Farmers of Canada’s inaugural Sustainability Report outlines the sustainable growth of the egg industry, and our approach to stewarding Canada’s agricultural future. In the final piece of this three-part Sustainability Series, we look at how empowering those who work in egg farming leads to a successful and sustainable future for the industry.
Farming a more sustainable future for Canadians is only possible when the people who make up our sector are supported, in both personal health and professional development. In order to lead a strong and successful sector, we invest in our people, nurture the next generation of leaders, and offer opportunities for farmers to learn and grow in their careers.
This commitment to empowering workers makes up one of our five sustainability pillars for Canada’s egg industry. Here are some of the ways that we are investing in our people and in the future of our industry.
Providing rural jobs and addressing the labour gap in agriculture
The system of supply management affords Canadian egg farmers the stability needed to provide a competitive wage and create thousands of jobs in rural communities. It’s a symbiotic relationship—egg farmers actively support their local communities, while benefiting from the reliable workforce necessary to care for animals and produce high-quality eggs.
We also work with our network to address labour gaps in the agriculture sector to ensure Canadians have access to a consistent supply of homegrown food. In collaboration with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, we support the implementation of the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-food Workforce Action Plan—an initiative that seeks to increase the supply of labour and improve the knowledge and skills of the agriculture workforce across Canada.
Championing ethical business practices in the egg supply chain
We are committed to promoting and enforcing ethical practices in the egg supply chain here in Canada and worldwide. In 2019, the Egg Farmers of Canada Board of Directors adopted the World Egg Organisation’s resolution to eradicate forced labour in the global egg supply chain. These efforts are rooted in the strong vision of sustainability for the global egg industry. At the provincial level, training on ethical farming practices is available to all new entrants in the egg industry. These programs offer coaching, mentorship and may provide off-sets for egg farm start-up costs.
Supporting professional growth and development
The agriculture sector is changing fast. To help egg farmers stay connected to the latest on-farm practices, we offer two specialized professional development programs that bridge the knowledge gap between new and experienced egg farmers. In 2019, we launched the women in the egg industry program. This program provides female farmers with the opportunity to strengthen their skills, take on leadership roles and network with other farmers in the Canadian egg industry.
Since 2014, our national young farmer program has brought together rising leaders to share knowledge and expertise. Through the program, young egg farmers benefit from networking opportunities, professional development and a chance to share experiences and best practices with egg farmers across the country. These efforts are part of our long-term vision to support the establishment and maintenance of family farms, and promote the longevity of the industry.
Prioritizing health and safety
We invest in research and initiatives to support the health and safety of egg farmers and their employees. At the University of Montreal, for example, researchers are assessing the effect of air quality in barns for workers through the reduction of respiratory irritants. To address gaps in mental health care, we’re supporting a research team at the University of Guelph that is developing and implementing agriculture-specific mental health programming. The project supports the design of tools created to meet the unique needs of egg farmers and on-farm workers.
At the foundation of Canada’s egg industry are the skilled and motivated farmers who make it successful. We are determined to continue supporting the health, empowerment and success of our workers in order to supply Canadians with the fresh, local, high-quality eggs they know and love.
Click here to read the full Sustainability Report and discover the ways that Canadian egg farmers are contributing to a sustainable future.