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Food industry requests emergency access to temporary foreign workers amid labour woes

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CALGARY — Canadian food processors hard-hit by labour shortages are asking the federal government for emergency access to more temporary foreign workers.

The food and beverage manufacturing sector has asked Ottawa to increase the cap on temporary foreign workers it currently operates under.

It wants the rules changed to allow for 30 per cent of an employer’s workforce to be made up of TFWs, instead of the currently levels of 10 to 20 per cent.

Canadian Meat Council spokeswoman Marie-France McKinnon says food processors struggled with labour shortages even before the pandemic, and the Omicron wave has exacerbated the problem.

She says some meat processors are currently operating with more than 30 per cent of their positions vacant.

Industry groups are calling on the federal government to implement an emergency foreign worker program before the end of this month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2022.

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Alberta

Transportation Safety Board investigating helicopter crash in central Alberta

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CAMROSE, Alta. — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says it is investigating a helicopter crash in central Alberta on the weekend.

The government agency says a Bell 206B helicopter crashed near Camrose on Sunday.

It says a pilot and three passengers were on board. 

RCMP say officers from the Killam-Forestburg detachment, as well as paramedics and firefights, were called to the crash.

Mounties say three of the four people on board were taken by ground ambulance to area hospitals.

A fourth occupant was airlifted to an Edmonton hospital.

Neither the RCMP nor the TSB would describe the severity of the injuries, and did not identify the people who were on the helicopter. 

The Transportation Safety Board says it is gathering information and “assessing this occurrence.”

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Alberta

Running back James Wilder Jr. signs one-year extension with Edmonton Elks

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EDMONTON — The Edmonton Elks signed running back James Wilder Jr. to a one-year contract extension on Monday.

Wilder, who was scheduled to hit the free-agent market next month, racked up 996 total yards and three touchdowns in 2021.

The Florida State product finished third in CFL rushing yards (770) last season and was named the Elks’ most outstanding player.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2022.

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