I have a quote from a meat-industry magazine.
“Until the day a meat processing job pays $50 an hour, the labour pool processors draw from is often a desperate one: immigrants (some of whom are hiding their illegal status), prisoners and ex-cons, refugees from murderous hot spots like Somalia and Myanmar, recovering drug addicts.”
A few years ago, an investigation revealed that a company recruiting immigrants to work for the Maple Leaf Foods hog-packing plant at Brandon, Man., was secretly demanding thousands of dollars in commissions from those workers.
Maple Leaf said it ended that practice.
But most of the big Canadian meat-packing plants routinely hire relatively recent immigrants, refugees and refugee claimants simply because they’re the ones willing to work for the lowest wages and in miserable conditions.
And even that’s not enough, so they take advantage of the federal government’s program to bring in offshore workers who are not allowed to remain in Canada beyond their work term.
How can the packing companies train these people in food safety and quality standards when many of them can’t speak even elementary English?
Some have never learned to read or write, even in their own language, let alone English and/or French.
Having said all that, there are really good employees among these populations. But also too many poor ones.
Do you still wonder who is handling your food? Are you comfortable with the situation?