Meat Processing Workers Need to be High Priority for Phase 2 of Covid-19 Vaccinations in ALL Provinces

Thursday, March 11, 2021 (Ottawa, ON) – The Canadian Meat Council (CMC) is urging all provinces to identify meat workers as a priority group for phase 2 of vaccinations for Covid-19. Premier Ford announced on Friday that Ontario meat processors would have priority in phase 2 and that starting in June, they would have access to the vaccine to immunize workers in their plants.

“We are urging all provinces to follow the lead of the Ontario Government and recognize agri-food and the importance of our meat processors to the supply chain, and the need for our workforce to get vaccinated,” said Chris White, President of the CMC. “From freezer spaces to store vaccines, to nurses on-site, CMC members offer provinces and local public health units a solution as we can be self-sufficient to vaccinate our industry,” added White.

The meat industry was among the first sectors to be challenged by this pandemic a year ago at this time. Since then, the industry has suffered shutdowns and slowdowns that impacted the supply chain and the ability to produce food for Canadians.

The work environment in a meat plant depends on close working conditions which make meat processing employees vulnerable to the virus. That is why CMC Members have spent millions of dollars to retrofit their establishments and implement measures to protect their workers and minimize the spread of Covid-19 in plants. 

“Despite industry’s best efforts, and millions invested to protect our workforce, the vaccine remains the most critical tool to protect this essential workforce,” added White.

The Government of Canada has also made available Rapid Screening Tests to our members as an additional tool in our toolbox of measures taken in the fight against Covid-19.  

Covid-19 Industry Measures Backgrounder & Industry Measures Video

This request is consistent with the recommendations of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s preliminary guidance on key populations for early Covid-19 immunization.

About the Canadian Meat Council:

For over a century, the CMC has represented Canada’s federally licensed meat packers, meat processors and suppliers of equipment, services and goods to the meat industry. CMC provides evidence-based advocacy on behalf of its members and works to secure and improve Canada’s global meat competitiveness and promote a balanced diet, which includes high-quality and nutritious Canadian meat. The Canadian red meat industry represents over 20 Billion dollars to the Canadian economy and supports 288,000 jobs across Canada.