Maple Leaf Foods plant in Alberta looking to hire Syrian refugees
Company has 10 job vacancies at its Lethbridge operation
The Canadian Press Posted: Jan 07, 2016 1:30 PM MT Last Updated: Jan 07, 2016 3:02 PM MT
The company, like others in Canada’s meat sector, is dealing with a chronic shortage of employees that has been exacerbated by restrictions placed on the temporary foreign worker program.
“We would be very pleased and honoured to be part of the solution in terms of helping find employment for the Syrian refugees,” said Rory McAlpine, a senior vice-president at Maple Leaf.
“We have jobs available.”
McAlpine said initially Maple Leaf could hire 25 refugees at its pork plant in Brandon, Man., and about 10 at its smaller operation in Lethbridge, Alta.
(…)McAlpine said the challenge for the industry is that most of the government-sponsored refugees are to be settled in major cities.
He said Maple Leaf is waiting to hear how the settlement of refugees will unfold to see how many candidates it can interview.
(…)McAlpine said Maple Leaf has experience dealing with foreign workers and helping them integrate into rural communities.
The company already translates its workplace and safety information into different languages and would be willing help employees learn to speak English, he added.
Muslim already working at pork plants
Syrian Muslims have dietary restrictions that do not allow them to eat pork, but there are no rules against them handling the meat.
“We already have some Muslims working in our pork plants, even though they do not consume pork. Similarly, Muslims may work in a chicken plant even if it is not producing halal chicken,” he said.
McAlpine said if Maple Leaf succeeds in hiring these first groups of refugees, more could follow.
“We are open to whatever might be available.”