NB Minister Orders All Poultry to One Plant

NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA - The agriculture minister has issued a temporary order to workers in the processing sector to send all poultry to go the province's only approved plant.
calendar icon 21 January 2010
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Chicken produced in the province must be processed at New Brunswick's only federally designated plant, Nadeau Poultry Farm Ltd. in Saint-François-de-Madawaska, according to a temporary order issued by Agriculture and Aquaculture Minister, Ronald Ouellette.

The order follows the proclamation on 4 January of Bill 81, an Act to amend the Natural Products Act.

Minister Ouellette said: "I did this for New Brunswick workers affected by the instability of the chicken processing industry in Canada. I am also protecting New Brunswick's industry from potential detrimental impacts of decisions by the Ontario Chicken Board and the Régie des marchés agricoles et alimentaires du Québec, to place a temporary moratorium on any increases of chicken exports from those provinces."

In September 2009, a number of chicken producers diverted their live chicken production from the Nadeau plant to Quebec for processing. This caused the lay-off of 165 workers at the Nadeau plant. At that time, it was indicated that the diverted chicken production would return to New Brunswick once the producer group constructed their own processing facility.

However, decisions by the Ontario Chicken Board and the Régie des marchés agricoles et alimentaires du Québec have made it impossible for the plant to obtain replacement chicken from those provinces and so they have not been able to re-hire most of the laid-off workers.

An analysis of the current state of the industry suggests that requiring chicken produced in the province to be processed at the Nadeau plant, will bring it back to a production level that will warrant the level of employment it had prior to the layoffs.

Mr Ouellette added: "This order is a temporary measure and not my preferred solution to the current state of the chicken processing industry in New Brunswick. This is a commercial dispute between two companies and I urge them to come to the table, do the responsible thing, and find a long-term solution for the workers and the industry."

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