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

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

Participants earlier this year in March for Lakes Loppet at the ski club. (Lakes District News file photo)
How is Omineca Ski Club prepping for this ski season?

Covid restrictions, social distancing but ski season to continue

Tonye Aganaba, the Vancouver-based hip-hop artist will be featured in the next virtual event. (Submitted photo/Lakes District News)
The third LDAC concert and Off the Wall art show is out

The council’s preliminary survey results shows high levels of satisfaction

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Kelowna City Hall has been vandalized overnight. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna City Hall hit by anti-pandemic vandalism

Graffiti condemning the virus appears overnight on City Hall

FILE – A woman smokes a marijuana joint at a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Home nurse visits could play big role in reducing cannabis use, smoking in young mothers

The program, dubbed the BC Healthy Connections Project, involves public health nursing home visits

The ‘new normal’ for hockey parents in Chilliwack and elsewhere in B.C., watching their kids from outside of the arena due to COVID-19 protocols. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack hockey parents petition to be let back in the arena

Refused access due to pandemic protocols, parents are now applying pressure to loosen the rules

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Aaliyah Rosa. File photo
Crown says murder of B.C. girl, 7, by accused mother was planned, deliberate

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis began Monday in New Westminster

Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. money laundering inquiry hears of $800,000 and more in bags, luggage, backpacks

The lottery corporation has said it consistently reported suspicious transactions to Fintrac

Most Read