Prairie meat plants get federal funding for worker safety
Twenty-four meat processing plants across the Prairies are receiving $7.8 million through the Emergency Processing Fund to keep employees safe and the regional food supply chain running strong. Recipients are using this funding to make adjustments to enable social distancing, purchase reuseable personal protective equipment (PPE), install protective barriers, improve sanitation and develop training for employees. These changes are also helping the food plants avoid production bottlenecks and safely keep up with Canadian consumer demand.
The announcement was made alongside two of the 24 recipients, Winkler Meats Ltd., a federally inspected abattoir and processing plant in Manitoba, which is receiving up to $1,447,693; and Viva Deli, a meat processing and retail operation in Alberta, which is receiving up to $70,184. The Government of Canada will continue working with food processors to protect the health and well-being of workers in food processing plants across Canada and strengthen our food supply chain.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on many challenges for the food processing industry, in particular for meat processing plants of all sizes. The hard-working women and men in this industry continue to step up to ensure Canadians have high-quality food on their plates. Through the Emergency Processing Fund, we are giving businesses the support they need to keep their employees safe and our food systems running strong.”
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“Our Prairie meat businesses have shown incredible resilience throughout this time of crisis. The investments announced today are helping many local businesses adapt their operations to help protect the health and safety of their employees which will allow them to continue supplying good food for Canadians.”
– The Honourable Jim Carr, Special Representative for the Prairies
“We applaud the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food’s efforts and support for the meat processing industry. The funding will help us continue, to keep our employees safe with increased social distancing and make our plant resilient in supplying Valley Lea Farms Fresh Pork and Winkler’s line of Sausage products to Canadians.”
– Dickson Gould, President, Winkler Meats Ltd.
“We are very grateful for support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada during this pandemic. As we are a new food manufacturing company, the funding has helped us to accommodate all the regulations that were put in place during COVID-19. We were able to keep operating our facility, keep a safe environment for our staff by separating our employees, improving our air quality and being compliant with local/provincial regulations.”
– Inessa and Vitali Kojlo, Owners, Viva Deli
The $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund is helping food processors implement measures to protect the health and safety of workers and their families in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with an emphasis on supporting meat processing facilities in Canada. The Fund also supports facility upgrades to help strengthen Canada’s food supply.
Across the Prairies, the meat processing industry accounts for 19,000 jobs and $12 billion in sales, nearly half of total food processing jobs and sales on the Prairies.
Today’s announcement builds on other measures introduced to keep Canada’s agri-workforce strong, including:
almost $85 million in funding for the Mandatory Isolation Support Program for Temporary Foreign Workers to assist Canadian employers with some of the incremental costs associated with the mandatory 14-day isolation period imposed under the Quarantine Act on temporary foreign workers upon entering Canada; and,
a $35-million Emergency On-Farm Support Fund to boost protections for domestic and temporary foreign workers and address COVID-19 outbreaks on farms.
The Emergency Processing Fund (EPF) is a one-time, federal investment of up to $77.5 million to help companies implement changes to safeguard the health and safety of workers and their families due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 and Food Processing
COVID-19 has caused significant changes and adaptation in Canada’s food system. As a result, Canadian food producers, processors, and manufacturers have taken on unexpected and exceptional activities associated with risk mitigation measures to be able to maintain Canada’s food production and keep workers and their families safe.
To date, 24 meat processing companies across the Prairies are receiving up to $7.8 million in funding through the program to help improve worker safety.
In Alberta, these projects include:
Aliya’s Foods Limited – $406,999
Bouvry Export Calgary Ltd. – $27,150
Bry-Conn Developments Inc. – $16,576
Canada Lamb Processors Ltd.- $22,404
Cut-Rite Meats Ltd. – $71,432
Forestburg Meat Processing Inc. – $137,271
Harmony Beef Company Limited – $88,134
Irvings Farm Fresh Ltd. – $44,250
JBS Food Canada – $804,912
Provost Packers Ltd. – $49,980
Ryley Sausage (1991) Ltd. – $44,182
Serben Farms – $14,500
Soleterra d’Italia – $231,096
Spolumbo’s Fine Foods & Deli – $69,472
Trochu Meat Processors Ltd. – $63,287
Viva Deli Inc. – $70,184
In Saskatchewan, these projects include:
Drake Meat Processors Inc. – $49,500
Pineview All Natural Meats Inc. – $40,000
Prairie Pride Natural Foods Ltd. – $14,175
In Manitoba, these projects include:
6381023 Manitoba Ltd. – $320,000
East 40 Packers Ltd. – $99,999
HyLife Ltd. – $3,670,334
Timothy’s Country Butcher Shop – $32,174
Winkler Meats Ltd. – $1,447,693
In addition to these projects, Olymel, a Canadian meat packing and processing company headquartered in Quebec, is receiving up to $1.6 million through the Emergency Processing Fund, with a portion of the funding being used to support improved safety measures at its facilities in Alberta and Saskatchewan.