Small businesses often lack benefits plans, but a new initiative by the BC Agriculture Council hopes to change that for farmers.
On May 4, BCAC invited producers to participate in a survey that will lay the foundation for a competitive benefits program intended to help them attract and retain workers.
“We are exploring the need to develop a benefits plan for producers to cover both your family’s needs and to help you recruit and retain your workers,” the invitation said. “Our goal is to build a plan for farmers that is built on the needs of farmers.”
A survey of 400 workers by recruitment agency Robert Half Canada in 2019 found that 49% of workers were attracted by a competitive benefits package, next to 78% who prioritized salary.
But a 2021 survey by the Conference Board of Canada together with TELUS Health found an 83% gap between the health benefits Canadian employees report they have and what they want. Basic dental services, vision care (optometry and optician services) as well as pension and retirement savings plans topped the list of most-desired benefits.
A benefits program is one way BCAC is working to reimagine its mission as it leans into its advocacy and support role for the sector.
During its annual general meeting in Chilliwack on April 11, BCAC executive director Danielle Synotte said the council was working on new revenue options.
Its 2023-2024 budget anticipates an increase of almost $100,000 from its relationship with Co-operators Insurance as well as greater revenue from its Farmer ID cards.
A timeline for introduction of the new benefits program has not been set.