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Canadian government to invest in food processing centre in Manitoba

13 May 2019, at 11:17am

Assinibione Community College will host a new food processing centre as part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

As part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the governments of Canada and Manitoba are investing $300,000 in Assiniboine Community College to support a new Food Processing Centre for Animal Proteins (FPC), Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler announced here today.

“The growing world demand for protein provides our industry here in Manitoba with tremendous opportunities in new production and processing jobs,” said Eichler. “The new Food Processing Centre for Animal Proteins will ensure that there is a robust stream of qualified individuals to advance our processing industry for years to come, and will keep our province at the leading edge of the protein sector.”

The new training facility, located at the college’s Victoria Avenue East campus in Brandon, will have a specialised focus on animal proteins. The first program scheduled to be delivered in the space is an 11-month Food Processing (Animal Proteins) certificate program. That program, which commences next month, will have students learning protein processing and other necessary skills to gain employment within the industry. Future use of the centre lends itself to customised industry training and applied research.

“The Food Processing Centre will allow Assiniboine to be responsive to the workforce development needs of employers, helping us to educate students and prepare them for in-demand jobs within this industry,” said Mark Frison, president of Assiniboine Community College. “We are extremely appreciative of the contributions from industry and government to make this space possible.”

Other funding partners include Maple Leaf Foods, HyLife, Manitoba Pork, UFCW Local 832, as well as the Brandon Hog and Livestock Show. Combined, $640,000 in funding will contribute to the construction and completion of the facility.

“Maple Leaf is very excited to be part of this opportunity with ACC and to stand with our industry partners to see it come to fruition,” said Morgan Curran-Blaney, vice-president manufacturing – pork, Maple Leaf Foods. “Not only will this program provide a stream of skilled talent into our plant, but more importantly, it highlights meat processing as a viable and sustainable career option for students.”

The new FPC at Assiniboine will address workforce supply shortages in Manitoba’s meat processing industry. In January 2017, the Canadian Agriculture Human Research Council found that rural meat-processing facilities have an employment vacancy rate of over 9.5 percent. These vacancies restrict processing capacity and affect future growth.

“Unions exist to create opportunities for our members, through bargaining fair deals of course, but also through education and training,” said Bea Bruske, secretary-treasurer of UFCW Local 832. “Investing in the Food Processing Centre makes total sense for us; this new facility will create pathways for current and future UFCW members to acquire skills that will enhance their job and wage opportunities.”