March 14, 2024
CNLA hosts inaugural 2024 leadership summit

CNLA hosts inaugural 2024 leadership summit

Switching gears during a week of winter board meetings at Hockley Valley in Orangeville, Ont., the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) hosted its inaugural 2024 Leadership Summit on February 6, featuring a selection of keynote speakers who shared information about navigating an unusual labour market, mitigating insurance liabilities and fostering a love of plants through marketing.

Nancy Healey, Employment Social Development Canada, shared up-to-date employment numbers from across Canada. Although Canada’s economy has experienced little growth over the past year, Healey noted the current economy is in a rare situation in which a lagging economy isn’t resulting in fewer jobs being available.

Jennifer Wright, Canadian Agriculture Human Resource Council (CAHRC), followed Healey’s presentation with more jobs data, sharing figures from their recently completed labour market research. Among the CAHRC’s findings is that the average age of employees is rising. “We have an aging workforce,” Wright said, adding that the average age of employees in agriculture is 58.

“Every industry in Canada right now seems to be facing a labour shortage for many of the same reasons around retirement and growth,” she continued. There are $500 million in lost sales in the nursery landscape and floriculture industry because of the number of job vacancies, which she said is likely to continue to expand due to the growth in the industry and the number of employees expected to retire.

The Summit continued with John Talent and Taylor Edwards from Marsh Canada, speaking to the claims and liabilities side of HortProtect Insurance. Talent and Edwards shared strategies to help landscape companies mitigate liabilities, and then fielded questions about deductibles and how they affect the prices of insurance premiums, as well as questions about determining the valuation of aging, insured equipment.

The final keynote speaker of the Leadership Summit was Frank Zaunscherb, ZRB Consulting, who shared an update on a soonto- come #PlantsLoveYou industry-wide marketing campaign. He shared a promotional video to get feedback from the audience, as well as to share details about funding that will be made available to members who participate in this robust promotion of Canada’s horticulture industry.

The event concluded with a roundtable moderated by CNLA president Bill Hardy with the chair of each of the CNLA’s commodity groups: Climate Change Adaptation Committee (Alan White), Professional Development Committee (Jeff Foley), Insurance Committee (Kevin Nauss), Garden Centres Canada Committee (Robin Godfrey), Research Committee (Phil Paxton) and the Landscape Canada Committee (Peter Guinane).

Videos of each of the 2024 Leadership Summit segments are available on