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Pork Industry Responds to Canadian Labour Shortage

6 January 2015, at 9:46am

CANADA - The president of the Canadian Pork Council warns failure to address the chronic shortage of workers within the Canadian pork industry will result in lost opportunities throughout the pork value chain, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Changes made in June to Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Programme have dramatically reduced the ability of Canadian pork processors to fill vacant positions.

Canadian Pork Council President Rick Bergmann says we have a high quality product that is exported to well over 100 countries but to fully capitalise on those opportunities the shortage of labor needs to be rectified.

Rick Bergmann - Canadian Pork Council:

We're very dependent on domestic and a foreign work force so we need to be able to have access to a great employee base, both domestic and foreign.

As you know there's been an inability to pursue foreign workers and that puts a whole lot of challenge to us in our industry here in different levels on different facets of our industry.

I've got some producer friends that have been looking for an expanded workforce on their farms and it's been extremely difficult for them to do so.

If it doesn't happen, if things don't get resolved then there's nobody there to do the work.

If there's nobody there to do the work that means the work goes away and that means there's less opportunity for the producer as well as many others in the chain of different aspects of pork production where it will take away opportunity.

Mr Bergmann says the pork industry requires a strong labor force to carry on and, without this workforce, it will put continued pressure on producers as well as processors and packers.