The Canadian meat industry is facing a shortage of butchers, meat cutters and labourers, says the Canadian Meat Council.
If not stemmed, the shortage will affect the livelihood of livestock products, meat packers, processors, exporters as well as the economy of rural communities.
The meat industry is no small cut to Canada's economy. It provides 64,570 jobs across Canada, and records revenue of $26.3 billion and exports of $4.5 billion.
The CMC says that in recent years it has noticed a decline in the number of Canadians willing to work in the meat industry. It also argues against the federal government's immigration policies–notably on temporary foreign workers–which it says are restrictive and makes it difficult for companies to fill vacant positions.
"Temporary foreign workers not only allowed the industry to maintain existing levels of production, but also permitted increases in plant capacity, number of shifts, and value-added production to take advantage of new and expanded market opportunities," the CMC said in a release. A lack of employees in the workforce makes it impossible for Canadian livestock producers and meat processors to find new opportunities for their businesses, the organization added.
According to the CMC, a lot of livestock is being shipped and processed in the U.S. rather than handled in Canada.
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