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DECEMBER 2015
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The Canadian Business Journal
no bacteria or micro-organisms remain in the
substrate before the farmer adds the mushroom
mycelium, called spawn.
Labour Shortages
When the Conservative government introduced
new rules in 2011 requiring temporary for-
eign workers to leave Canada after four years,
it severely affected the mushroom industry.
Harvesting mushrooms is not an easy task. It
requires skill and training. Because mushrooms
are harvested year-round, seven days a week,
mushroom farms are not eligible for the Seasonal
Agricultural Worker Programs. As a result, mush-
room farmers depend on temporary foreign
workers for a portion of their workforce. Koeslag
explains that it has been historically proven
that the Canadian labourer pool cannot sup-
ply enough workers to meet the demand of the
mushroom industry. “It’s not even a matter of pay
as the mushroom industry has been documented
to pay on average several dollars higher than
minimum wage,” Koeslag says. “It’s simply that
Canadians don’t want to do the work.”
In the spring 2015, Mushrooms Canada
1,2,3,4,5,6 8,9,10,11,12
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