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Skills Needs for Workers in the Growing Plant-Based Protein Industry in Manitoba and Saskatchewan

These reports provide insight into the skills needs for workers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan’s growing plant-based protein industry, especially around value-added agricultural manufacturing, and what steps can be taken by government, industry, and educational institutions to support workers.

Canada has a long history of growing and exporting plant proteins like pulses (lentils, chickpeas, peas, etc.) and oilseeds (soybeans, canola, etc.), particularly in the Prairies. There is a major economic opportunity in further processing and manufacturing these raw materials in Canada to make plant protein ingredients and products. Already, significant investments have been made in new processing plants for key plant protein crops in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The Government of Manitoba projects $1.5 billion in investment and 1,550 new jobs by 2025 from their Manitoba Protein Advantage Strategy, while one of the goals of the Government of Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan aims to increase agriculture value-added revenue to $10 billion by 2030.

However, investments and goal-setting alone are not enough for these provinces to capture the full economic benefits of the plant-based protein industry: the workforce needs to be prepared for this opportunity. But just how prepared is this workforce? What changes are needed to ensure workers and companies can realize this opportunity? And how can industry, governments, and educational institutions support this workforce in setting them up for success?

The Smart Prosperity Institute, with support from the Future Skills Centre, is publishing three reports that explore these questions. Our work is the product of a year-long research process involving quantitative analysis, surveys, interviews, and in-person workshops in communities around the province.

  1. Ingredients for growth: How the emergence of plant-based protein opportunities in Saskatchewan and Manitoba will impact workers and future skills needs This first report examines the PBP industry supply chain from on-farm work to end-stage retail to better understand the current skills and labour needs, as well as what future skills and occupations may be created by the shift to growing and manufacturing plant-based protein products.
  2. Preparing for plants: What is needed to cultivate the future skills required for workers and businesses in Saskatchewan and Manitoba’s plant-based protein ecosystem? Further details solutions and recommendations for industry, government, and educational institutions around the growing and manufacturing of plant-based protein products.
  3. Skills needs for plant-based proteins (agriculture and food manufacturing) in Manitoba and Saskatchewan: Summary for policymakers is a ten-page summary of the major findings and key takeaways from the first two reports.

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