Pork Industry Increasingly Dependent on Foreign Workers

US - The manager of quality assurance and labour with Manitoba Pork says, as the result of increased competition for labour, the province's pork industry has become increasingly dependant on foreign workers, according to Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 12 May 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

Last month members attending Manitoba Pork's annual general meeting in Winnipeg passed a resolution calling on the organization to explore ways to improve the availability of foreign workers, including the forming of a pool of foreign workers who are ready to come to Canada on short notice.

Miles Beaudin, the manager of quality assurance and labour with Manitoba Pork, says we're seeing shortages of animal care providers across Canada.

Mile Beaudin-Manitoba Pork

We're fairly dependent on the foreign worker program.

Ten years ago we had a low level of dependence, five years ago there was a moderate dependence but now we're looking at a moderate to high level of dependence on foreign workers.

There was a 2012 study done and we found out that we have very low total unemployed living in municipalities across Manitoba where there's high populations of pigs.

For example La Broquerie has as little as 100 people that are unemployed in the whole municipality, Ste. Anne, Manitoba where there's hog barns there's as little as 20 people unemployed so you can see that there's vey little people to choose from.

Some of the main drivers that is causing this, we've got the oil sector out west, even in Manitoba, the southeast and in Saskatchewan, we have very strong rural economies in rural Manitoba such as Steinbach, Winkler and Morden that are providing a lot of jobs for people.

We just have a hard time attracting people because there's just very few people out there to draw from.

Mr Beaudin says Manitoba Pork is working to encourage workers both foreign and domestic to consider careers in the pork industry.

He says the challenge for employers in accessing foreign workers is that they must first demonstrate that there is a shortage of available local workers and once that has been accomplished they have to have someone from another nation who is prepared to come to Canada to fill that position.

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