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Critical shortage of workers in Canadian meat industry

From Global Meat News

A rapidly deteriorating nationwide shortage of butchers, meat cutters and labourers is threatening the Canadian meat industry, according to the Canadian Meat Council (CMC). The shortage of labour is affecting livestock producers, meat packers, processors, consumers, exporters and rural communities, it said.

There has been a trend for meat packers and processing businesses to move away from their traditional locations close to major urban centres, to less densely populated rural locations, according to the CMC – which could be affecting the pool of labour available to them. In recent years the industry has seen a noticeable decline in the number of Canadians willing to work in the industry. The CMC claimed there was also a decision by the federal government to select “higher skilled” immigrants.

These restrictions will increasingly and cumulatively affect the industry, claimed the CMC. This results in companies being unable to back-fill positions that become vacant as work permits for temporary foreign workers expire, or the inability to envisage additional shifts, new value-added products, or enhanced export opportunities.

According to the CMC, Canadian meat packers and processors are already “reducing or curtailing the production of value-added items; diverting speciality meats to lower value rendering, rather than harvesting them for export; forfeiting existing and new export opportunities; decreasing profitability, competitiveness and business sustainability; and, increasing the number of Canadian jobs that are being placed at risk”.

Livestock is also being shipped out of the country to be processed in the US, rather than being done in Canada, further jeopardising jobs, it said.

Read the full article here.