MITCHELL, ONTARIO – An investment of nearly $4.5 million (US$4.4 million) from Canada's Economic Action Plan to help Great Lakes Specialty Meats of Canada Inc. improve and expand its facility, was announced by Gerry Ritz, Agriculture Minister, and member of Parliament Gary Schellenberger (Perth-Wellington).

"Canadian farmers have a great product to sell and there is growing demand for it worldwide," Mr. Ritz said. "That is why our government continues to make key investments to drive innovation that will grow new opportunities for our producers and packers."

Great Lakes Specialty Meats of Canada Inc. will use this funding to improve plant capabilities to produce high-quality, value-added products using modern and efficient equipment and technology, such as the leading traceability systems for improved food safety. These improvements will position the company to increase sales of its high-quality Canadian pork products and be competitive in the marketplace. This, in turn, will create more jobs in the Mitchell area and keep hog processing in Southern Ontario.

"Investing in a stronger meat packing and processing sector in Canada benefits the entire value chain," Mr. Schellenberger said.

"Improving and expanding the production capabilities at Great Lakes Specialty Meats will help us supply the increasing demand for value-added pork products – domestically and internationally – and will ultimately mean more jobs for people in the Mitchell area," said David Schwartz, president of Great Lakes Specialty Meats of Canada Inc.

The Canadian government’s $50-million (US$49 million) Slaughter Improvement Program, as part of Canada's Economic Action plan, makes federal loans available to support sound business plans aimed at reducing costs, increasing revenues and improving operations of red meat packing and processing operations in Canada. The 2010 Budget provided an additional $10 million for the program.

Canada’s red-meat industry, with more than $20 billion in sales, is the single-largest employer in the Canadian food industry.