If your business is very small, you may be able to run it by yourself. But chances are you are going to need employees. The staff you hire for your business is called human resources.

You will need your employees to have certain skills, to be committed to your business and to be able to work together as a team. You will also need to know how to find and attract those employees, what to pay them, and what it takes to retain them and keep them motivated.

In this section you will learn:

  • how to assess your employment needs
  • methods to recruit and interview
  • how business immigration can help you
  • about skills development
  • government incentive programs
  • employment law

Assessing your employment needs

Before you hire anyone, look at every area of your business. Be sure to include all core operations: marketing and sales, administrative functions, operations and more. Make a list of the skills needed in each area.

Now determine who would be best to do those functions. You may be able to do some yourself. Others could be done by short-term contractors and others may require full- or part-time staff.

Write a thorough job description for every role that will require a new hire. Be sure the description includes:

  • qualifications and experience required
  • detailed description of the job itself (see Human Resources Management for Employers for information on how to analyze and write job descriptions)
  • personal attributes required (for example, valid driver’s license, work independently, lead a team, be a self-starter, follow detailed instructions)

Talk to your industry contacts to determine the going pay scale for each role. Make sure to consider the geographic region in which you are operating.

The Government of Canada’s webpage, Work in Canada, allows you to research current wages and provides information by occupation or location.

Recruiting and interviewing


Successful recruiting requires careful planning and selection. You do not want to make the costly mistake of hiring someone who is unsuited to the job, or who cannot be trained to do the job.

Traditional recruiting methods include word of mouth, newspaper ads, employment agencies, online job postings and employment/job apps. Most websites that offer this option do not usually provide a screening service, so you must review all the applications, not just those that meet the job’s specifications. You can also hire an agency that can screen potential workers and refer them to you for a fee. Look for recruiters in your area that specialize in the food and beverage industry.

When deciding which recruitment method to use, weigh the cost in both dollars and time. If each interview takes a lot of time, it is not cost effective to see 150 applicants for a single job advertised online. Using an agency or electronic labour exchange that will pre-screen applicants will narrow the choice for you.

Recruitment resources for food processing

Job Bank: This free, government-run website allows you to list your jobs, find a student intern and see who is looking for work.

Co-op students and job fairs: You can also hire co-op students who are enrolled in co-operative education programs at a secondary or post-secondary institution. These are generally short-term placements of approximately four months.

Existing employees: After you are in operation for a short time, start asking existing employees to source talent from their own networks. Referrals are a good source of external hires and they have a 25% higher retention rate.


A face-to-face interview is your opportunity to assess if someone has the skills, experience and personal qualities you require.

Interview questions must not discriminate against candidates. Questions about name changes, race, age, family status and marital status must not be used. The Canadian Human Rights Commission has a guide to screening and selection in employment which can help develop interview questions to assess applicants appropriately.

After reviewing resumes and conducting interviews you will have a short-list of potential candidates for the job. If you have business partners, it may be a good idea to have them interview the candidate as well, so you have more than one point of view before you hire.

Business immigration

In some cases, Ontario companies cannot fill their human resources needs within Canada and may choose to recruit foreign workers in order to fill labour shortages.

The Ontario government provides a variety of services to Ontario-based companies looking to recruit foreign workers, as well as international corporations establishing or expanding operations in Ontario.

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is the province’s economic immigration program. It works in partnership with the Government of Canada through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Foreign workers, international students and others with the right skills, experience and education apply to the OINP for a nomination.

The OINP recognizes and nominates people for permanent residence who have the skills and experience the Ontario economy needs, and the Government of Canada makes the final decision to approve applications for permanent residence.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Only Canadian citizens and permanent residents have the right to work in Canada. Anyone who is not a Canadian or Canadian permanent resident must obtain authorization from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to work in Canada.

Ontario companies who cannot fill their human resources needs within Canada may choose to recruit temporary foreign workers through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFW). TFW is jointly administered by two federal government departments: Service Canada and CIC.

In most cases, obtaining a temporary work permit is a two-step process:

  • Service Canada is responsible for assessing and confirming employer requests for foreign workers through the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Process.
  • CIC determines the admissibility and issues work permits to foreign workers.

A work permit is a document issued by the federal department of Citizenship and Immigration that allows a person who is not a permanent resident or Canadian citizen to work temporarily in Canada. Work permits are generally only valid for a specified job and employer as well as for a specific length of time.

Visit the Government of Canada’s Hire a temporary foreign worker webpage to find out about TFW.

Skill development

You should expect to provide training for your staff. You may need to do this when they are first hired to ensure they know your policies and processes. Also, be prepared to continue to provide training so that staff can keep up with changing technology and policies. Training is essential to employee satisfaction; it can help reduce turnover.

Training for food and beverage processing

Training is offered by:

There are also many private companies and organizations that offer training courses. You can search the web or speak to others in the food business for suggestions.

For a listing of secondary institutes that offer food specific educational programs see the Go To College or University in Ontario webpage.

Sector-specific training

You may also want to contact sector organizations to see what training they offer. You can also check custom training solution providers for in-house courses.

General business training

Other information sources are post-secondary institutes that offer courses for food processing business in areas such as marketing or human resources.

See Appendix A for more information.

Employment law

Occupational health and safety

Federal and provincial regulations are in place to keep all workers healthy and safe on the job.

You can find out more about the laws you need to follow at the Government of Canada’s Business and industry webpage. It includes information from many sources, including the federal, provincial and territorial governments.

You will need to register with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board for workplace insurance coverage in the event a work-related injury occurs.

Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS) provides risk management solutions and offers health and safety expertise for small businesses. The focus is primarily on agricultural, industrial/manufacturing and service sectors.

More information on general laws that apply to all businesses can be found at:

Payroll deductions and remittances

In addition to paying your employees on a regular basis (including vacations, statutory holidays and other mandatory leaves), you will need to provide them with income tax declarations and deduction information. You will also need to make regular contribution payments to the federal and provincial governments on behalf of your employees and yourself as well.

Employers are responsible for deducting, remitting and reporting payroll deductions. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has a checklist that can assist small businesses to comply with regulatory requirements.


  • I have determined what type of staff I require (full-time, part-time, contractors).
  • I have analyzed the costs of employee benefits (including CPP and any proposed benefits) and administrative overheads (salary administration, amenities, insurance).
  • I have written detailed job descriptions for each position.
  • I have decided if I can do my own recruiting or if I need to hire a recruiting firm.
  • I have advertised the positions that need to be filled.
  • I have contacted CRA to register as an employer and to get my payroll number.
  • I have taken a payroll course or retained a bookkeeper experienced in payroll implementation.
  • I have registered with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
  • I am prepared to recruit, screen and hire employees or contractors.
  • I am ready to implement any required training, including on safety issues.