Two hundred employees will be laid off with the closure this week of Moose Jaw, Sask.’s XL Foods plant, the only beef packaging plant in the province. The shutdown is expected to last until the end of September.
According to XL Foods Inc., the plant cannot be operated effectively until the supply of cattle for slaughter increases. The company says the shortage is unusual, and believes that the situation will have changed by the time the facility is scheduled to reopen in five months.
Alberta-based XL Foods, which processes roughly 450,000 head of cattle per year, had previously cancelled a shift at the facility in July 2006, laying off 100 workers.
The plant’s closure will have far-reaching effects on Moose Jaw. Trucking companies, vending companies, restaurants and other retail businesses will all feel the economic hit deeply.
Moose Jaw has seen many other business closures in recent years, including Castle Wines and Robin Hood Flour Mills. Worldwide Pork shut down temporarily in 2005, laying off 270 employees, reopened with 100 of those workers under the name Moose Jaw Pork Packers, yet closed again in 2006.