FAQ

What is the meat industry?

Meat processing is the step-by-step movement of meat and meat products through several stages. These include harvesting at the abattoir, carcass fabrication to value-add processing such as sausage manufacturing to retail counter preparation and presentation.

How many people work in the meat industry?

This is a growing industry that is actively seeking more people to join our work force. Jobs are open at all levels, training schools are available and many employers provide on-the-job training. According to Statistics Canada, the meat and poultry processing industry is the fourth largest employer in Canada and currently employs approximately 68,000 people in more than 1,000 companies across Canada.

How large is the meat industry?

The meat industry is growing all the time. Annual sales are estimated at $27.4 billion dollars (2009) including value added products.

What kinds of jobs does the meat industry offer?

While most people focus on the meat cutting and packing aspects of the industry, meat processing, like any large industry, has positions as shippers, managers, marketers, human resources, lab technicians, drivers and inspectors.

What kind of career opportunities does the meat industry offer?

Opportunities exist right now across the country for people with the right skills and training to fast track a career in the meat industry. Once trained, you can have the job you want with a solid career path and you can live nearly anywhere you want. Want to be a butcher or meat cutter? Easy. Want to be in marketing, sales or logistics; we’ve got jobs for you too. Want to manage people or run your own business? You’ve come to the right place. Check out our Job Listings page for current openings or place your request for work on our Resume & Skills Post page.

Will I have to slaughter animals?

The Canadian meat industry has very high ethical and humane standards for the harvesting of animals for processing. Only a small percentage of people employed in the industry work in the abattoir end of the business. A greater percentage or people work in the value-add processing and retail stages. A large percentage of meat industry employees such as administrators, supervisors, shippers, drivers and inspectors will never touch an animal or meat product.

Do I need training? If so, where can I get it?

Although you can find employment in the meat industry without prior training, enrolling in a entry level training program at one of Canada’s post secondary institutions will go a long way to helping you move up quickly in your meat industry career path. Instructors at these schools are members of the (CPMCA) Canadian Professional Meat Cutter’s Association and will help you connect to a broad range of industry opportunities through training supported industry work experiences, field trips and the diverse cross training and experience they offer.

Who works in the industry?

meat industry employs people from a very wide range of backgrounds and ethnicities. The amount of training and experience employees have varies greatly.

What are working conditions like?

Employers have been modernizing plants and operations, using the latest technology and research to improve sanitation, ergonomics, product quality, health and worker safety. Today’s meat processing operation is nothing like the images of years ago. Special clothing, safety equipment and tools of the trade necessary are usually supplied or available from the employer.

Do many women work in the industry?

The days of the meat industry being dominated by men is a thing of the past. More females than ever are finding career success and leadership roles in the meat industry.