In a recent development, Olymel, a prominent meat production and processing company, has revealed plans to close two of its facilities, significantly impacting the livelihoods of numerous employees. The closures come as the company grapples with ongoing market challenges, leading to the loss of 301 jobs in Princeville, Quebec, and an additional 93 in Paris, Ontario.
The Princeville, Quebec plant, which specializes in pork boning and packaging, is set to cease operations in November, affecting 301 employees. Simultaneously, a poultry processing plant in Paris, Ontario, is also slated for closure, resulting in the displacement of 93 workers.
Olymel states that these closures are part of a broader effort to reorganize its business lines and streamline its operations across its facilities. The company does offer some hope for affected employees, as it intends to facilitate opportunities for them to transfer to other Olymel facilities.
Additionally, Olymel is expediting the closure of its Saint-Simon distribution centre, moving the timeline up by over a year to conclude at the end of January, affecting 15 employees.
To offset the impact of the Paris closure, Olymel plans to enhance the capacity and production capabilities of its other poultry plants. Notably, the Oakville poultry plant will undergo refurbishment, including the addition of another production line, an investment totaling $8 million and resulting in the creation of 62 new jobs. The decision to consolidate operations in Paris and Oakville stems from the realization that both plants had been operating below capacity. This consolidation is expected to yield operational efficiency and cost savings, according to Olymel President and CEO Yanick Gervais.
Olymel is also committed to assisting the 33 temporary foreign workers at the Princeville plant in their potential relocation efforts.
Gervais remarked, “The fresh pork industry is slowly getting back on track after two years of tumult that forced us to reorganize our operations.”
This announcement follows a series of closures and layoffs by Olymel throughout the year, including the closure of three facilities in 2023, comprising two processing plants and one slaughtering facility in Quebec. In May, the company had also announced layoffs affecting around 80 workers at its pig farms in Alberta and Saskatchewan. These measures were attributed to ongoing financial losses and market uncertainties, resulting from limited global market access and soaring feed costs.
The closures and layoffs underscore the challenges faced by the meat production industry and the need for companies like Olymel to adapt and restructure in response to changing market dynamics.