Sector Profiles

The Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council (CPEPC) is an Ottawa-based national trade organization representing the interests of more than 140 Canadian chicken, turkey and egg processing, egg grading and hatchery establishments. In addition, our membership includes over 50 national and international industry partners who have joined us as Associate members.

Now in its 68th year of operation, the Council has grown and adapted to meet the changing needs of the Canadian poultry industry. During 1995, the structure of the Council changed significantly following a merger with the Canadian Hatchery Federation (CHF) and the development of a new sectoral emphasis. Currently, the CPEPC consists of six sectors: primary chicken processors, primary turkey processors, poultry further processors, egg graders, egg further processors, and CHF (a separate corporation representing broiler, turkey & egg-type hatcheries).

Within our new structure, issues of general concern are handled by the Council's Board of Directors made up of two representatives from each of the six sectors, except for primary chicken, which has 4. Sector specific matters are dealt with directly in each sectoral group. Our various technical and policy committees address the concerns of all sectors.

Our Members

Representing some of the largest agri-food corporations in Canada, our member companies process over 90% of Canada's chicken, turkey; eggs and hatching eggs. This economic activity generates approximately $6 billion in retail sales. To accomplish this, our members have invested over $2 billion in plant and equipment, and directly employ more than 21,000 Canadian workers.

CPEPC’s member companies work within the Canadian supply managed system for chicken, turkey, eggs and broiler hatching eggs. CPEPC and our members support the system and we are “committed to building the long term competitiveness of the Canadian poultry industry. A foremost priority is to modernize the supply management system to ensure continued broad consumer support, mitigate processor risk and to better respond to market pressures and the competitive environment”.

The supply managed nature of the Canadian poultry and egg supply chains results in our members selling over 90% of their product domestically. However, both exports and imports are important to the sectors in general and to CPEPC member companies in particular. In fact, exports and imports are critical components of the supply managed systems for poultry and eggs. They are used to balance the domestic market to meet Canadian consumer preferences and to fill periods of increased demand or lower production. In addition, exports of some products are not residual products but are important value added products. In addition, CPEPC’s membership includes primary breeding genetics companies and multiplier breeder hatchery companies. In the turkey and layer business, these companies supply product to the domestic market but also export eggs or day old chicks / poults to a number of countries. For these companies, exports are a significant part of, and are critical for, their business. They would not be in business in Canada without these exports.

Primary Chicken Processors Sector

Sector Directors:

Joël Cormier - Exceldor Coopérative - Lévis, QC
Lucy McKee - Cargill Meats Canada - London ON
Scott Cummings - Sunrise Poultry Ltd. - Surrey, BC
Craig Evans - Granny's Poultry Co-operative Ltd. - Winnipeg, MB

Council's 18 primary chicken processor members operate 33 primary processing plants and additional further processing plants. These companies have a throughput of more than 1 billion kilograms (eviscerated weight) of meat each year, which represents more than 90% of all chicken processed in Canada. We estimate that this coast to coast economic activity directly employs over 9,000 Canadian workers, and represents an investment in plant and equipment of more than $800 million.

Over 90% of the supply of raw product purchased by our members comes exclusively from the chicken producers of Canada (members of the Chicken Farmers of Canada). To assist producers in determining policies which will benefit the entire Canadian chicken meat industry, two Council members sit on the Board of the Chicken Farmers of Canada.

In chicken, the Canadian consumer preference for breast meat and wings is met by importing additional breasts and wings, over and above what is produced in Canada, through Tariff Rate Quotas TRQ’s. In addition, export programs in the chicken sector result in the export of thighs and drums. The result is a market that is kept in balance through domestic production and processing, imports and exports. From domestic production the processing of whole birds yields approximately 52% breast & wings and 48% legs. This ratio is changed through imports and exports to approximately 57% / 43%. Canada continues to be a net importer of chicken.

The per capita consumption (PCC) of chicken meat in Canada has more than doubled since 1975. After flattening out in the first decade of the new century, PCC has recently begun to increase again and is over 31 kg per person. Chicken has been Canadian’s preferred meat protein for over a decade. In an environment where Canadian consumers are eating less meat, the nutritional, economic and versatile characteristics of chicken win increasing approval from diet and value conscious Canadian consumers. As both domestic and export opportunities continue to be developed, the members of the primary chicken processors sector will maintain their commitment of supplying high quality products at competitive prices, while enjoying continuing growth.

Primary Turkey Processors Sector

Sector Directors:

Ben Brooks - Maple Leaf Foods Inc. - Mississauga, ON
Kerry Towle - Sofina Foods Inc. - Edmonton, AB

The Canadian turkey processing industry has consolidated in recent years and CPEPC’s primary turkey processing sector represents the interests of 9 Canadian member companies who directly employ more than 1,800 workers in their 14 primary processing plants across the country. In addition, CPEPC turkey member companies operate multiple further processing plants and are responsible for more than 85% of Canadian further processed turkey production. Total plant and equipment investment is in excess of $120 million.

With an annual throughput of approximately 170 million kilograms (eviscerated weight), our members process in excess of 93% of all turkey processed in Canada.

In a Canadian domestic market where consumers are eating less meat on a per capita basis, Canadian per capita consumption of turkey meat remains steady. The domestic market has evolved from one that relied on sales of whole birds at festive seasons to the current market that features more than half of our turkey sold as cut up and further processed products through retail, food service and institutional channels.

Primary turkey processors work closely with the turkey producer members of the Turkey Farmers of Canada. Two members of the CPEPC are members of the Board of Directors of the Agency, and have been working with the producers to develop policies that will allow the Canadian turkey industry to maintain the flexibility necessary to meet new market demands.

Poultry Further Processor Sector

Sector Directors:

Blair Shier - J.D. Sweid - Langley, BC
Chris Hobbs - ADP Direct Poultry - Etobicoke, ON

With a plant and equipment investment in excess of $600 million and direct employment estimated at over 5,000 people, the Poultry Further Processing sector of the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council represents both chicken and turkey members from coast to coast and accounts for more than 75% of all poultry further processed products sold in Canada.

This rapidly growing sector is supplied by primary chicken and turkey processors and transforms raw chicken and turkey meat into a variety of innovative foods for the retail and foodservice markets. Further processed products are the growth engine for both the Canadian chicken and turkey industries and sales are estimated to be in excess of $1.6 billion.

As members of the most recently formed sector of the CPEPC, poultry meat further processors are actively involved in all areas of the poultry meat industry. The primary focus of this sector is on the myriad of technical issues which associate with new product development. Another focus is to promote policies which maximize the utilization of Canadian chicken and turkey in these innovative products. Members of this sector work closely with members of the primary processing sectors to ensure that adequate supplies of chicken and turkey meat, meeting appropriate specifications, will be available for further processing.

Canadian Hatchery Federation Sector

Sector Directors:

Ernie Silveri - Western Hatchery - Abbotsford, BC
Christian Trottier - Couvoir Boire et Frères Inc. - Wickham, QC

The Canadian Hatchery Federation sector of the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council represents the interests of 48 broiler, egg-type and turkey hatcheries in all regions of the country.

Operationally, hatchery sector members are represented by one of eight regional Directors at the sector level, and two of those Directors represent the sector on the CPEPC Board.

The latest industry figures indicate that 600,000,000 chicks and poults will be placed nationally this year. CPEPC members will place 564,000,000 or 94.0% of those. This activity directly employs 2,500 Canadian workers, and represents an investment in plant and equipment of approximately $250 million. The value of these chicks when sold to producers will be in excess of $310 million.

In meeting the needs of Canadian broiler growers, egg laying operations, and ultimately processors and consumers, hatchery members source hatching eggs for incubation both domestically and internationally. Under the current NAFTA and GATT/WTO Agreements, 21.1% of the total Canadian broiler hatching egg requirement is sourced from outside Canada and enters the country duty free. The remaining 78.9% of our requirement is purchased from Canadian broiler hatching egg producers.

Most egg-type and turkey hatcheries are somewhat different as they own their breeder flocks. No border controls exist for these commodities and our members have been increasing export sales in recent years.


Egg Grading Sector

Sector Directors:

Mike Walsh - Gray Ridge Eggs Inc. - Strathroy, ON
Bert Harman - Star Egg Co. Ltd. - Saskatoon, SK (CPEPC CHAIR)

The Egg Grading Sector of the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council directly employs more than 1,500 Canadian workers, and represents an economic investment in plant and equipment in excess of $150 million.

CPEPC’s grading sector is comprised of 16 companies, operating 28 plants in all regions of the country. Throughput for Canadian grading stations is approximately 550 million dozen eggs and CPEPC members are responsible for more than 95% of this total. CPEPC graders work closely with primary egg producers to ensure an adequate supply of fresh shell eggs will be available to consumers.

Operating also as wholesalers, Council's egg grading sector members distribute fresh eggs to the hotel, restaurant and institutional market, along with supplying retail outlets.

In 1997, the long-term trend of declining per capita egg consumption was reversed as consumers were educated through aggressive marketing programs regarding the nutritional benefits of "nature's most nearly perfect food". This, in combination with dispelling myths regarding cholesterol; and, the obvious value of eggs to consumers represent growth opportunities to this important sector. Cash strapped Canadian consumers turn increasingly to eggs during difficult economic times and per capita consumption of shell eggs has increased over the last decade.

Egg Further Processing Sector

Sector Directors:

Ian McFall - Burnbrae Farms - Lyn, ON
Aaron Kwinter - Global Egg Corporation - Etobicoke, ON

This growing sector transforms shell eggs into liquid egg, powdered egg, frozen products and ready to eat items. It purchases from the Egg Farmers of Canada some 125 million dozen eggs for use within Canada and in export markets. These purchases are supplemented by purchases of imported shell eggs or liquid egg product totalling the equivalent of another 60 million dozen in addition to Canadian off-grades, eggs from the vaccine program and the Eggs for Processing program.

CPEPC’s 13 Egg Processing member companies operate 13 plants in Canada and represent 100% of the industry. With estimated direct employment of more than 600 Canadian workers, Council's Egg Further Processors have invested over $100 million in plant and equipment.

Sector members continue to work with their customers to develop new value-added food products containing processed egg products. This has enabled the egg further processing industry to expand its operations and to increase both domestic and export sales.

New technology and changing lifestyles are combining to create new market opportunities for egg further processors. When the supply management system for eggs was established, this sector accounted for only 5% of Canada's eggs. Today, further processed eggs represent approximately 30% of the Canadian egg market.

From CPEPC’s strategic plan