CMC Urges Support for Temporary Foreign Workers to Reinforce Canada’s Meat Industry

Last week, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marc Miller and the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, Randy Boissonnault announced changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP),  challenging the ability for meat processors to fulfill the needs of Canadian consumers.

Years of successive Agri-food Ministers have acknowledged that our sector is facing a critical labour shortage, The Temporary Foreign Worker Program Workforce Solutions Road Map introduced the time-limited measures in 2022 to address these concerns and provide stability. Through the decision to unilaterally end the temporary measures, this announcement has undermined the certainty we have been working with the government to create – with no notice or consultation.

The Canadian Meat Council is perplexed by the inconsistent logic demonstrated by the hasty and premature reduction of the 30% cap and the direction that our members must abide by these new terms by May 1, 2024. Initially implemented as a solution to the current status of our sector, and promised to run until August 30, 2024, the removal of these measures without meaningful industry consultation will have significant consequences for processors who put food on grocery store shelves.

“Meat processors are aware that consumers are struggling with food affordability. At a time when our sector is responding to inflation and trade disruptions and labour availability, this is yet another unhelpful policy measure at odds with providing an end-product to consumers at a price-point they can afford,” shared Chris White, Canadian Meat Council’s President & CEO. “Programs like the TFWP Workforce Solutions Road Map not only helped manage mounting labour costs, it provided reassurance to Canadian businesses that they would have a reliable supply of labour – a concern that is increasing, each day.”

“Make no mistake, the decision to remove these supportive measures is punitive for the agriculture sector, including our meat processors. By ending these measures, we are removing the crucial support that our industry needs to remain competitive, and we are undermining our sector’s ability to meet product supply requirements,” Chris White continued. “We unequivocally refute the notion that employers are unduly reliant on temporary foreign workers. The simple truth is that skilled workers are essential for meeting the needs of Canadian consumers, and there just aren’t enough Canadian employees to fill the current labour requirements. The loss of skilled workers will only serve to harm our industry and add more pressure to the already-stressed agri-food supply chain.”

The Canadian Meat Council, on behalf of our members, will continue to work with Government to underscore the importance of reversing the measures announced last week to support our industry as it strives to meet the food security and food affordability needs of Canadian consumers.


Media Contact:
Jennifer White

About Canadian Meat Council
The Canadian Meat Council represents federally licensed meat packers and meat processors as well as suppliers of goods and services to the meat industry. As an industry association, CMC provides advocacy on behalf of its members and works to secure and improve Canada’s global meat competitiveness. CMC also promotes a balanced diet which includes high-quality and nutritious Canadian meat. CMC provides services to its members with four key priorities: Regulatory Compliance, International Trade, Public and Stakeholder Engagement and Member Services.