Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay announced $13.5 million on Thursday to support a new application intake under the Youth Employment and Skills Program (YESP). 

The initiative will provide the agricultural sector with the help needed to support approximately 1,200 jobs for youth in the sector.

MacAulay says young people are the future of Canada’s agriculture industry.

"We want to make sure that they can gain the experience they need to have a long and prosperous career in the sector. I encourage folks to take advantage of this program and the opportunities it holds – both for our youth and employers.”

The YESP program offers support for 50 per cent of wages up to a maximum of $14,000 to agriculture employers hiring Canadian youth. 

Employers that hire youth facing employment barriers will be eligible for 80 per cent of the cost of salaries and benefits (to a maximum of $14,000) and may be eligible for an additional $5,000 to address specific obstacles to employment.

The program supports the following employees:

  • Indigenous
  • youth living with a disability – including physical, mental health related or learning disability
  • racialized youth
  • recent newcomers to Canada (within 5 years)
  • single parent
  • living in a low income household
  • individual who left high school
  • residing in a remote, northern and/or fly-in community
  • living in an Official Language Minority Community

Employers can apply for funding through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada between February 26 and March 25, 2024 for their project to be considered. 

Applications from Indigenous employers will be prioritized for the 2024-2025 program year. 

Since the YESP began, approximately 5,100 youth have been employed in agricultural-related organizations from every province and territory.