Cumberland South MLA Tory Rushton and Cumberland North MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin are urging the Department of Environment to work with Dickie’s Meats and hire a food inspector for Cumberland County.
In January 2018, the food inspector for abattoirs in Cumberland retired. The department has refused to replace them, and the Truro food inspector must commute. This will result in a change of production start time from 6am to 8am. Dickie’s Meats says that valuable production time will be lost all because regulators are telling them how to run their business.
The PC MLAs are calling on the Liberals to cut red tape and support local small businesses like Dickie’s Meats.
“Liberal Minister Margaret Miller’s department is stonewalling the beef industry in Cumberland County and disrupting this whole operation by not filling this inspector position for an entire year,” says Rushton, “We must support the beef industry in our province.”
The owner of Dickie’s Meats, John Dickie, says the government shouldn’t be allowed to interfere this much in the operation of a business.
“Government shouldn’t be telling Nova Scotians when they should or shouldn’t be going to work. Our employees are ready to work at 6am and for us to keep up with the production line and demand, we need to start working at 6am, not 8am,” says Dickie. “They’re not running the inspection program like a business, or the business would be broke. Common sense has been taken out of the equation.”
Smith-McCrossin says this could result in a big gap for the industry in Northern Nova Scotia.
“A regulator is dictating how this business operates. This change mandated by the department is having negative consequences on this business and could have a domino effect on the industry,” says Smith-McCrossin. “We can’t have policies in place that aren’t properly thought-through.”
Manager Jason Dickie says they want the same services they’ve always had access to.
“We’re not asking for any favours, or for the moon. We just want to operate the same way we have for the last 15 years, with access to the same services we’ve always had. Services shouldn’t be leaving Cumberland County,” says Dickie. “We’ve only ever complied with the department, we work with our local partners and we employ 10 people. We want to make this work.”