Country Prime Meats President Peter Springmann (left) and Troy Guenther stand in front of one of the new lines which is still wrapped in plastic, waiting for more employees. Max Winkelman photos.

B.C. company struggling to find employees

The Cariboo company says it may have to look at temporary foreign workers

Country Prime Meats recently added additional processing lines but are struggling to find employees for the expanded section, meaning that for the first time they’re looking at potentially hiring temporary foreign workers, says Troy Guenther, Director of Human Resources.

“We just finished this expansion and we’re poised for [a] 30 per cent over the next year or two. Basically, you know, we’re having a hard time getting enough local applicants.”

They added one stuffing line and two packaging line with six to eight people per line, he says

“We’re in need of about anywhere from probably 15 upwards to possibly 20 more people to make this thing run.”

They’re looking to fill entry level positions right now but will need to fill others in the future as well, often promoting from within, says Guenther. He adds that there are benefits fully paid by the company after six months.

It’s the first time ever, they’re entertaining the idea of temporary foreign workers, says Guenther.

“Just because we are not getting the local interest.”

He thinks there are a number of reasons for that.

“We are located at Mile 128 so we’re quite a way from town, between Williams Lake and 100 Mile; we’re about halfway,” he says. “The younger generations just don’t have wheels … A lot of people are like well if I’ve got to spend all that money in gas to get up there then, you know, I’ll just work in town.”

They prefer to hire locally to support the local community, he says. They’re one of the biggest employers in the area outside of the mills and mines, according to Guenther, who adds they’re at about 72, which is down a little from before the wildfires.

“We lost a few people that never came back to the area.”

The new lines are automated and robotic, which makes it easier for employees, says Guenther.

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett says that she sincerely hopes they hire local.

“It’s a great business. It’s expanded over these years. I’ve watched it grow and grow and they’ve put a lot of investment. They have great product. They’re worldwide almost. Hopefully, locals will take an advantage of having an opportunity to work here and help support their families and that’s what we hope for.”

Once the new lines are up and running, Guenther says they’ll likely also need staff to support those lines such as cleaners and administrative staff.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Current employees working on one of the new automated lines.

Just Posted

No swimming or skating at Juan de Fuca rec centre for now

The Q Centre to reopen starting on July 13

Saanich councillors scurry to ban rat poisons on municipal properties

A ‘small but important first step’ to protect local wildlife, councillor says

Sidney’s Star Cinema looks to reel in audience with reopening

It’s lights, camera, action — again — for Sidney’s Star Cinema in… Continue reading

Unemployment surpasses historic high in Greater Victoria, tourism hit hard

Hospitality and tourism sectors hurting as pandemic continues

Victoria tattoo shops respond to sex assault allegations against male artists

Carne Tattoo and Painted Lotus Studios respond to allegations

VIDEO: Langford cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Vancouver Island business ad unintentionally features OK gesture linked to white supremacy

Innocuous ‘OK’ gesture in cleaning franchise advertisement gets flak on social media for ‘supposedly’ promoting white supremacy

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Most Read