The Sustainability Surge Is Coming — Manitoba Food & Beverage Businesses Are Getting Prepared3 minute read Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022
Saying that it’s been a tricky couple of years for Manitoba businesses in the food and beverage sector might just be the understatement of the century. Coming off the back of the pandemic that forced restaurants and retailers to close their doors, only to reopen amidst a massive labour shortage has given business owners some of the most trying times of their professional lives.
That’s without mentioning the global food shortages caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and extreme weather events like the Manitoba drought in 2021 and historic flooding from earlier this year. How many more obstacles can Manitoba food growers, processors, distributors, and retailers possibly manage?
Well, there’s at least one more. Spurred on by the climate crisis, governments, investors, and consumers are now demanding that business activities meet a standard of sustainability beyond what’s been required in the past.
The good news, however, is that Manitoba is beautifully positioned to reap the rewards of the sustainability push.
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It’s hardly a secret that the manufacturing sector here in Manitoba and other parts of the country is facing a critical shortage of skilled labourers.
A 2021 survey of 445 companies conducted by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) found 82 per cent of respondents were facing labour shortages and 75 per cent felt the situation had worsened from the previous year. Numbers from Statistics Canada back it up. The agency reported there were 65,900 manufacturing job vacancies across the country in the second quarter of 2021, the highest number of vacancies in the sector since 2015.
In February, the Manitoba chapter of the CME launched a new public awareness and education campaign it hopes will help to address that labour shortage. The Manufacturing is Hiring initiative (cme-mec.ca/manufacturing-is-hiring) is designed to present the manufacturing industry in a more modern light and help individuals connect with careers in the sector that are a good match for their skills and professional goals.
“We started to think we needed a fresh way of getting in front of people who maybe haven’t considered manufacturing as a career option previously,” CME Manitoba’s director of workforce development Andrea Aiello says of the impetus behind the campaign.