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Pork Producers Encourage Ag Ministers to Address Labour

13 July 2017, at 12:00am

CANADA - Manitoba's pork producers are hoping labour will be among the key issues discussed next week when Canada's agriculture ministers gather to discuss plans the next Agricultural Policy Framework, reports Bruce Cochrane.

Last month representatives of Manitoba's agricultural commodity groups met with provincial Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler to provide input in preparation for next week's Federal Provincial Territorial Agriculture Ministers meeting in St. John's, Newfoundland.

George Matheson, the Chair of Manitoba Pork, on hand to represent the province's pork industry says producers and processors are constantly struggling to fill positions on farms and in processing plants in the province and they would like to see changes made to the Temporary Foreign Workers Programme to allow greater utilization of that labour pool.

George Matheson-Manitoba Pork

The pork industry does take a fair bit of labour, as mentioned, not only on our farms but also in our processing plants.

Quite frankly some of those jobs can be laborious, they can be repetitive, they can be very hard and sometimes the place of employment is remote.

Quite frankly a lot of Canadian citizens would prefer not to do these jobs and we've found that the Temporary Foreign Workers Programme has been very effective in filling in a lot of these gaps and it has worked well for us.

It's worked well for the individuals coming from other countries.

Manitoba and Canadian governments both realize this and it's necessary that they make further adjustments so that these jobs can be filled by Canadian citizens or foreign workers.

Mr Matheson says there are too many jobs for the people who are interested in filling them and it's as simple as that.

He says the domestic labour force has not been sufficient to meet the pork industry's labour needs.

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