BC Government Helping Agriculture Jobs in the Okanagan

This summer, a pilot program is connecting BC employers with seasonal domestic workers seeking employment in Okanagan orchards and vineyards.

BC Fruit Works is a collaboration between the BC Grape Growers’ Association, BC Cherry Association, BC Fruit Growers’ Association and BC Tree Fruit Cooperative, with support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

“BC Fruit Works is part of our government’s tree fruit industry stabilization initiative as we seek ways to coordinate diverse agencies through an industry workforce strategy,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “This collaborative approach strengthens BC’s tree fruit and wine sector and ensures that their delicious, high-quality products will continue to reach consumers’ hands this summer and into the future.”

In June, BC Fruit Works launched a trial launch with several goals, including:

* hire domestic workers to work as branch laborers in Okanagan orchards and vineyards;

* leverage technology, including web forms, social media, text messaging, QR codes, scheduling automation and digital marketing, to create a marketplace that connects workers to producers efficiently and effectively in real time ; and

* create continued employment opportunities in Okanagan orchards and vineyards, strengthen support for local producers, and protect and sustain BC’s food supply for years to come.

BC Fruit Works has early success, securing 90 branch employees for fruit harvesting jobs and 60 farmers interested in training and adopting technologies to maximize profits and minimize food waste.

Lana T. Arthur