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J.D. Irving Ltd. signage is seen as hundreds of people attend a job fair in Sussex, N.B., on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016.

Darren Calabrese/THE CANADIAN PRESS

J.D. Irving, Ltd., says it will need to hire people to fill 1,510 new jobs in Canada and 190 in the United States over the next three years.

The Saint John-based conglomerate company says its hiring plans include finding people to help build ships in Atlantic Canada for the Canadian navy and to staff a $400-million tissue plant in Macon, Ga., it announced in September, expected to create 200 jobs.

Irving projects a total of 10,400 hires across operations in Canada and the U.S. through 2020, with most of those workers needed to replace staff who retire or leave the company for other reasons.

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About 2,500 of the hires are expected to be students. That's about 800 each year over the three-year period, according to Mary Keith, vice-president of communications.

Irving says 84 per cent of the hiring will be to fill jobs in Atlantic Canada.

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