(Montreal) Quebec has no plans to invest more in Olymel. Despite the pig industry’s struggles, Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon believes the $150 million government aid granted in 2021 was the right thing to do.
“Olymel as an investment by the government, we are very confident that it is the right thing we have done,” replied the minister, on the sidelines of an event in Mirabel on Monday.
The closure of the Vallée-Jonction pork slaughterhouse, the fifth closure of an Olymel facility in a few months, is “disappointing” for the 994 workers affected, concedes the minister. “I think after the shutdown, [Olymel] is going to be financially strong. We just have to work now with the employees and [ask] what are we doing with the site. »
Despite Olymel’s many difficulties, Mr. Fitzgibbon reiterated his confidence in the current management.
The Minister pointed out that the support of 150 million from the Fonds de développement des entreprises québécoise and Investissement Québec granted in 2021 was not related to the activities of Vallée-Jonction, but with measures to increase the productivity of the cooperative. .
“There’s a lot less [pork] consumption internationally, I think it’s kind of unavoidable. Did we know, two years ago, that they were in favor of closing Vallée-Jonction, the answer is “no”, but there were people who thought that there was a consolidation that would happen depending on pork exports. »
Asked about the relevance of new financial support from the government, the Minister replied that no request has been made in this regard for the moment.
Last week, the president and general manager of Olymel, Yanick Gervais, assured that he had made good use of government support. “We used these sums to make investments in the other sites. We didn’t use it to pay for groceries. »
The pork industry must deal with an unprecedented crisis in Quebec, particularly in the context of the closure of the Chinese market, disruption of the supply chain and scarcity of labour. The sector has resulted in losses of 390 million over the past two years.
The cooperative intends to reduce its pig slaughterings by 20% starting in June. In this difficult context, the Éleveurs de porcs du Québec have adopted a voluntary buy-back program for producers who will withdraw from production for at least five years, with the objective of reducing the number of pigs reared in Quebec by one million. .