CANADA - The vice president of Sunterra Foods is calling on stakeholders within Canada's pork industry to voice their concerns over changes to Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Programme, writes Bruce Cochrane.
Under changes made in June to Canada's temporary foreign worker programme the number of foreign workers that make up the work force has been capped at 30 per cent , a $1,000 fee has been introduced for each application and the length of stay has been cut in half.
Ben Woolley, the vice president of Sunterra Foods, told those on hand for a pork industry panel discussion held last week as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2014, access to labour is major issue within the processing sector.
Ben Woolley-Sunterra Foods:
The plants are in trouble.
The beef plants are in trouble, the pork plants are in trouble, they do not have enough people to staff their floors.
If a plant closes it affects every single person in this room.
We all rely on the pork industry for our livelihoods and when we start losing pork plants or when pork plants start having to cut back on their kills because they don't have enough people it's a real issue.
Every single person in this room needs to contact their Member of Parliament and talk to them about this issue and make sure that they are aware of it because it's a western Canadian issue.
It's not even on the radar screen of the guys in Quebec, it's a very low priority in Ontario except for the plants.
The producers in Ontario don't even seem to understand this but in western Canada it is a huge issue for us.
I was talking to the guy that runs the High River plant the other day.
They've got 300 temporary foreign workers that are supposed to go home at the end of this year and they're already 200 people short.
How do you run a plant when you're 500 people short.
So we've got to get something done about this, it's got to be on priority and it's got to be done now otherwise we're all going to run into problems.
Mr Woolley says the industry can't afford to fail on this issue.
He says there are indications there is room for movement and the more Members of Parliament hear from all of us the more likely we are to get something done
ThePigSite News Desk