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Olymel announces closures affecting around 400 workers in Ontario, Quebec

An Olymel sign is shown in Montreal on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in Montreal. Olymel is closing two plants in Quebec and Ontario and accelerating the closure of another, affecting around 400 employees as the company says it's still facing market challenges. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Olymel is closing two plants in Quebec and  Ontario and accelerating the closure of another facility, affecting around 400 employees as the company says it continues to deal with market challenges.

The meat production and processing company says in a press release that the closures are part of measures to reorganize its business lines and optimize operations at its facilities.

The company is closing a pork boning and packaging plant in Princeville, Que., in November, affecting 301 employees, and is also closing a poultry processing plant in Paris, Ont., affecting another 93 workers.

Olymel says employees affected by closures will have opportunities to transfer to other facilities within the company.

In addition to the newly announced closures, Olymel says it’s accelerating the planned closure of its Saint-Simon distribution centre by more than a year to the end of January, affecting 15 employees.

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In the wake of the Paris closure, Olymel says its other poultry plants will benefit from an increase in capacity and production.

In particular, it’s refurbishing its Oakville poultry plant to add another production line, spending $8 million and creating 62 new jobs. The Paris and Oakville plants had been running below capacity, and consolidating their operations will generate efficiency and savings, Olymel president and CEO Yanick Gervais said in a press release.

Olymel says it will work with authorities so that the 33 temporary foreign workers at the Princeville plant can also apply for relocation.

“The fresh pork industry is slowly getting back on track after two years of tumult that forced us to reorganize our operations,” said Gervais.

Thursday’s announcement was the latest in what’s been a string of closures and layoffs by Olymel this year.

In May, Olymel announced that around 80 workers at its pig farms in Alberta and Saskatchewan were facing layoffs as it moved to cull six production facilities in the ensuing months.

The decision was due to “continued financial losses and uncertainty in the hog and pork markets for the foreseeable future,” the company said at the time, with losses stemming from limited global market access and high feed costs.

At that time, Olymel had already closed three other facilities in 2023, including two processing plants and one slaughtering facility in Quebec.

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