Canada seeks to recall retired meat inspectors, unveils C$5 bln in farm credit


Kelsey Johnson, Reuters 

March 23, 2020


OTTAWA, March 23 (Reuters) - Canada is asking recently retired meat inspectors to come back to work as it tries to ease staffing shortages and ensure the food system remains intact during the coronavirus outbreak, officials said on Monday.


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) told meat processing plants on Friday it would be reducing the agency’s staffed hours at domestic meat processing plants because of capacity constraints, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.


It was not immediately clear when the reduced staffing, including no overtime and no Saturday shifts, would take effect.


Industry officials fear the CFIA move could cut the output of meat across Canada by 10% or more, said one of the sources.


“There’s a challenge around human resources ... mainly for our inspectors,” Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau told reporters on Monday when asked about the availability of meat inspectors, saying Ottawa was investigating whether provincial officials could help share the burden.


“We are also in the process of...