Arrell Director Makes Headlines on Farm Labour, Food System

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Prof. Evan Fraser

Prof. Evan Fraser, director of the Arrell Food Institute, has spoken to several news outlets recently about agricultural labour shortages, food shortages and increased demand on food banks.

Fraser was interviewed by the Financial Post about why laid-off Canadians cannot simply take over farm work typically done by temporary foreign workers. He said agricultural work is skilled work requiring training already acquired by foreign workers.

Fraser appeared on CBC’s The National and CBC News Network to discuss delays in the arrival of temporary foreign workers due to COVID-19. Fraser said labour delays could postpone planting, which could mean lower food production in Canada this year and potentially higher prices.

He also spoke to the Toronto Star about labour shortages and production slowdowns at meat packers. He said while the pandemic is straining Canada’s overall food system and exposing its “vulnerabilities,” the country’s supply chains have proven resilient. Still, he worries that price increases will hurt many Canadians.

“The food system is doing remarkably well. But for low-income Canadians this could be a real problem. It’s an affordability issue, not a food system crisis.”

Fraser holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and studies food security, food prices, rural agricultural policy and how each is affected by climate change.

Watch his appearance on CBC’s The National below.