SECURING CANADA’S
MEAT WORKFORCE
Real Challenges. Practical Solutions. Fresh Perspectives.

Meat + Poultry Workforce Survey Report

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Food processing is Canada’s largest manufacturing segment by employment and the meat processing industry is the largest sub-sector within food processing employing approximately 64,500 workers. However, similar to the Atlantic Canada seafood sector, shortage of labour is severely curtailing industry growth.

 

According to the Canadian Meat Council, as of February 2017 there were more than 1,650 vacancies at rural abattoirs across Canada or nine per cent of total employment at those facilities. In many markets, Canadians do not apply for or accept jobs at meat processing facilities because they do not like the working conditions or lack the physical ability to do the work. The result is a lack of local labour.

 

Many meat processors agree that foreign workers provide vital contributions to production in regions where there are shortages of Canadian workers. However, immigration policies that tighten restrictions on foreign workers and force employers to hire more Canadians have compounded the labour shortage. This shortage of meat cutters and other staff is preventing companies from operating at full capacity or increasing exports.

 

Accurately understanding the labour constraints and implementing realistic solutions is an imperative if the industry is to expand and by extension support communities especially in remote locations across Canada.

What we know
  • Meat processing accounts for 25 per cent of the country’s food and beverage exports
  • Meat processing employs more than 64,500 nationally
  • Despite this, there is a severe labour shortage in the sector, with many meat processors being forced to turn down orders or scale back production
  • The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) has been used in the past to fill critical gaps, but has gone through significant program alterations, which have affected the sector’s ability to use this program
  • The TFWP is not a permanent solution for the meat industry and a specialized pathway to permanency is needed
  • The Federal Government is proactively working with industry to find solutions and create a pathway forward for sector sustainability

KEY FINDINGS

COMPARISON BY INDUSTRY
COMPARISON BY INDUSTRY
COMPARISON BY ROLE

Detailed Industry Insights

Through industry consultations, research, data collection and analysis, the study will tell the story of Canada’s meat and Atlantic seafood processing industry.

Detailed Industry Insights

Through industry consultations, research, data collection and analysis, the study will tell the story of Canada’s meat and Atlantic seafood processing industry.
Also available

Securing Canada's Fish + Seafood Workforce

Through industry consultations, research, data collection and analysis, the study will tell the story of Canada’s fish + seafood processing industry.

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