Improving Processing Capacity in Ontario’s Meat and Poultry Sector

New investments will increase efficiency and optimize food safety in provincial meat plants.

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing $900,000 through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to launch an innovative tool to connect meat and poultry farmers with abattoirs that have available processing capacity and to support recruitment, retention and training initiatives in the industry.

The new Farmer-Processor Connections Initiative, led by Meat and Poultry Ontario and AgSights, is designed to connect farmers in need of processing with abattoirs that have additional capacity. This program will help relieve processing capacity challenges and supply chain disruptions, help food processing businesses use their full capacity and help meat and poultry farmers get their products to domestic and international markets faster.

Additionally, Meat and Poultry Ontario and EIO Solutions are partnering to develop and implement a full suite of human resources tools to support meat and poultry processing plants in Ontario, with recruitment, retention, training, and policy development. These dedicated and tailormade resources will optimize food safety knowledge and culture in provincially licensed meat plants, while addressing ongoing labour challenges.

The funding announced builds on the more than $14 million invested last year through two intakes for the Meat Processors Capacity Improvement Initiative. Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed over $110 million in cost-share support to more than 5,500 projects through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.

Quotes

“Having access to a skilled workforce and a consistent supply are both essential to ensuring efficiency and maximizing capacity for Ontario’s meat and poultry processors,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, the federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “With this funding, farmers and processors will be able to ensure a stable supply of high-quality meat both in Canada and around the world.”

– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Ontario’s meat and poultry producers work tirelessly to ensure that Ontarians have access to fresh, local, and high-quality meat products for their families.” said Lisa Thompson, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “We have heard concerns about processing capacity shortages, and that is why our government is stepping up with this important investment, so that we can continue to meet the demand for Ontario’s high-quality meat products.”

– Lisa Thompson, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister

“We thank the federal and provincial government for their partnership and support for this project. This funding will enable us to strengthen our food protection and assurance programs, and explore ways to address capacity by matching farmers with processors that have immediate availabilities.”

– Graham Dalziel, President of Meat & Poultry Ontario

“At EIO, we’re committed to helping businesses across Ontario protect and manage their most valuable assets—their people—so we are so excited for the opportunity to work with Meat and Poultry Ontario members. By applying the fundamentals of Employee Investment Optimization to health & safety, HR processes, and more, we’ll strive to turn every member into an employer of choice!”

– Kevin Trainor, President and CEO of EIO Solutions

“AgSights is excited to pilot a centralized booking solution to address current challenges with processing for both farmers and processors. Collaborating with Meat and Poultry Ontario, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to engage with farmers and processors from the start means Processor Links is designed to address today’s needs.”

– Betty-Jo Almont, General Manager of AgSights

Quick facts

  • The Farmer-Processor Connections Initiative is developed by Meat and Poultry Ontario (MPO).
  • The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion commitment by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sectors. This includes a $2 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.
  • There are more than 480 provincially licensed and 230 federally licensed facilities (abattoirs and free-standing meat plants) in Ontario.
  • In 2020, the Ontario agri-food sector supported more than 720,000 jobs in Ontario and contributed $45.0 billion to the province’s economy.

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