Alberta Pork says they hope the provincial government can provide relief to pork producers if the Olymel meat processing plant is shutdown for an extended period of time.  (Black Press file photo

Olymel to close pork plant in Vallée-Jonction, Que., lay off nearly 1,000 workers

MONTREAL — Quebec pork producer Olymel says it will close a major slaughterhouse south of Quebec City and lay off 994 workers.

The company said today the Vallée-Jonction plant in the Beauce region will be the latest factory to shutter, after previously announcing the closure of several other facilities in recent months.

Olymel CEO Yanick Gervais told reporters in St-Hyacinthe, Que., that the pork industry has lost $400 million in the last two years because of factors including the COVID-19 pandemic, labour shortages and the instability of export markets.

He says the Vallée-Jonction plant was chosen because of the decline in the available workforce and the poor condition of the facilities, which he says require tens of millions of dollars in renovations.

Gervais says the company is open to relocating any of the laid-off workers who want to work at Olymel’s three remaining slaughterhouses or its other facilities.

He says the plant’s operations will wind down gradually over the next eight months, with a final closure on Dec. 22.