An update from Maple Lodge Farms’ regarding the ongoing COVID -19 Pandemic
During the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, we understand the critical importance businesses play in reducing and slowing the spread of the virus. As an essential workplace, we are working hard to ensure that we can continue to provide Canadians with safe and wholesome chicken in adequate quantities, while at the same time protecting the health and well-being of our employees, families, communities, suppliers and customers.
We have been challenged at our Brampton processing facility with a number of cases of COVID-19, like so many other businesses across the country and indeed, across the globe. Over the past several weeks we have had a total of 28 employees test positive for COVID-19, which has been, although very unfortunate and distressing, not unexpected given the incidence rates in surrounding communities and the large number of people in our workforce.
We have worked around the clock for the past several weeks to implement new policies, procedures and preventive measures to keep people safe in our workplace. All of these measures have been in line with the recommendations set out by the Government of Ontario and the Public Health Agency of Canada’s recommendations for food manufacturing plants, and many have exceeded them. We have implemented physical distancing where possible in our facility and, where not, we have equipped our employees with PPE in addition to that which was already required for the everyday safe performance of their jobs.
Some of the preventive measures we have put in place include the following:
- We have suspended all visitors to our facility outside of those deemed essential to the operation of our business for example, contractors and delivery drivers
- We have a strict screening policy in place ensuring only healthy people enter our workplace
- We require all employees and essential visitors to wear masks at all times in all areas of our facilities
- We have temporarily, voluntarily suspended one-third of our operations in order to conduct a thorough risk-assessment and deep-cleaning, while at the same time implementing a plan to increase physical distancing of common areas
- We have imposed physical distancing measures in our common spaces including the installation of Plexiglas shields in between adjacent seating areas in our cafeteria
- We have equipped all of our production employees with personal protective equipment over and above that which may be required in the course of their usual duties, including masks, face shields, aprons, and gloves
- We have staggered our production shifts for better physical distancing
- We have implemented precautionary and frequent deep cleaning initiatives and added ongoing cleaning rotations for frequently used areas/surfaces to our already rigorous sanitation procedures
- We communicate openly and frequently with our employees through bulletins, letters and tv monitors in common spaces to keep them informed and provide them information on handwashing and other hygiene measures, as well as tips on how to stay safe outside of the workplace
- We meet weekly with our onsite CFIA management team to share information and establish collaborative efforts to keep all of our employees safe
- We have worked together with the rest of our industry to share knowledge and develop best practices, and have consulted with health experts and regulators to ensure that we are doing the best possible job in combating the spread of this disease.
Additionally, in conjunction with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which maintains a full time complement of 30 plus inspectors onsite at our facility, we have conducted tours of our facility for both Peel Public Health and the Ministry of Labour, as added assurance that our preventive measures are appropriate and effective, and also to receive feedback on any areas in need of improvement.
We have also been working to help those in our communities who are struggling to keep food on their tables; through partnerships with Food for Life and Second Harvest, we have donated over $500,000 of food to help feed those in need. In addition, we are proud to be a major donor in the Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) effort to prepare and deliver as many as 10,000 meals a day to frontline workers and community agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We continue to work hard to ensure we are doing the best job possible to protect our employees, support our communities and keep food on the table of Canadians during this very difficult and challenging time.
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