TORONTO – According to news reports, Maple Leaf Foods officials would hire Syrian refugees to fill available jobs at two of its meat plants, according to the Canadian Press, which reported that Maple Leaf and other Canadian meat companies are dealing with an employee shortage because of restrictions placed on the country’s temporary foreign worker program.

“We would be very pleased and honored to be part of the solution in terms of helping find employment for the Syrian refugees,” Rory McAlpine, a senior vice president at Toronto-based Maple Leaf, told the Canadian Press. “We have jobs available.”

The company said it needs people with manufacturing experience who could be trained as production workers and meat cutters. McAlpine said the company could hire up to 35 people at plants in Manitoba and Alberta.

The Canadian Meat Council has urged the federal government and provinces to settle some of the refugees in smaller rural communities throughout Canada where labor is needed, according to the report, which also noted that Maple Leaf has experience in helping foreign workers assimilate in rural communities.