May 6, 2020, Ottawa, Ont. – The Canadian Meat Council (CMC) says funding announced by the federal government will help meat processors continue to improve their facilities.
“Our members have already invested heavily in ensuring that they can provide safe working conditions for their employees while continuing their operations,” said Chris White, president of the Canadian Meat Council. “These are unprecedented times and we are adjusting day-by-day, as we all learn how to best protect our employees and inspectors based on new information and this funding reflects this need.”
Canadian meat processors work diligently with provincial health and labour officials responsible for regulatory oversight, as well as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to deal with COVID-19, with shared goals: to protect the health and safety of our workers and our food supply, the CMC said in a statement.
Decisions on how to reduce risk are science-based and evolve with each passing day as knowledge and experience from around the world is applied, and, importantly, each facility is operated following the advice of local and provincial health officers, who determine when to open or cease operations, the CMC stated.
Measures include symptoms monitoring such as taking temperatures of employees before the start of work each day, additional cleaning and disinfection for high-touch surfaces by dedicated personnel, monitoring of appropriate hand-washing with soap and water by quality assurance personnel, and the requirement for employees to self-monitor during work time and not to come to work if observable symptoms are present.
Social distancing is being addressed through adding space to lines wherever possible or providing additional solid barriers or personal protective equipment for workers and inspectors and adding more areas for lunch breaks. This list is evolving as new information and measures come to light, the CMC stated.
“We would like to express our appreciation to the minister of agriculture and president of CFIA,” said White. “These are uncharted waters and their availability, transparency and willingness to work with our sector has been greatly appreciated. Feeding Canadians, keeping the supply chain going and ensuring employees are safe is at the heart of what we do. One can’t happen without the other.”
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