Agriculture and Aquaculture

Minister comments on developments in chicken-processing sector (10/01/29)

NB 123

Jan. 29, 2010

FREDERICTON (CNB) - Agriculture and Aquaculture Minister Ronald Ouellette issued the following statement about recent developments in the chicken-processing sector:

On Jan. 19, I issued a temporary order designating Nadeau Poultry Farm Ltd. in Saint-François-de-Madawaska as the federally designated plant in New Brunswick where chickens must be processed.

On Jan. 22, Groupe Westco Inc. announced that it would abide by the order and presented a proposal whereby its chickens would be processed at the Nadeau Poultry Farm Ltd. plant. It is my understanding that, to date, Nadeau Poultry Farm Ltd. has refused Westco's offer as presented.

The legislation and my order were put in place as short-term measures to protect the workers from the current instability of the chicken processing industry in Canada and provide the impetus for the two companies to sit down and negotiate a long term solution. This requires both companies to come together and, through negotiation, arrive at an acceptable agreement. This has yet to happen and until such time as it does, government will not further intervene.

I will, however, reiterate my offer of mediation and, again, strongly encourage the companies to do the responsible thing and resolve this commercial dispute that is hindering the process that government has enabled and disregarding the needs of the workers.


MEDIA CONTACT: Gisèle Regimbal, communications, Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture, 506-444-4218.