An update from Maple Lodge Farms regarding the ongoing COVID -19 Pandemic
It’s hard to believe that one year has passed since we issued our first employee COVID-19 communication; perhaps even more difficult to believe that since then, we have issued hundreds more. The pandemic has altered our lives and our business in ways we could never have imagined. It has posed great challenges and has resulted in deep loss. However, it has also brought about many good things, as our values have been put to the test. Over the past year, we have witnessed great acts of compassion and sacrifice, giving us the optimism and courage we need to face the ongoing disruption in our daily lives.
Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 we have also made some incredible achievements this past year, chief among them, the extensive renovation of our Brampton plant to accommodate our newly commissioned tray-pack line. We also saw the launch of our ENGAGE platform to keep employees connected and involved, and made significant contributions in support of our local communities, including $250K to SickKids Hospital, and more than $900K to local foodbanks and frontline worker programs.
We are encouraged by the ramping up of the COVID-19 vaccine supply and distribution, however, as we anxiously await our turns to be vaccinated, and the threat of the virus persists, we must continue to carefully practice all of the preventive measures put in place in our workplace, and follow the advice of Public Health outside of work, in order to keep ourselves and each other safe.
Our Emergency Response Team continues to work tirelessly to conduct thorough risk assessments and contact tracing in collaboration with Public Health, and in accordance with our COVID-19 response plan, whenever we are notified of a positive employee case. We continue to communicate every case requiring contact tracing in our workplaces to employees, to keep them well-informed. Since the start of the pandemic, across our Ontario operations (6 facilities with approximately 2600 people in total) we have been notified of a total of 130 positive employee cases requiring contact tracing in our workplaces.
Some of the preventive measures we have put in place in the workplace 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 maintain a strict screening policy, 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 added temporary lunchroom spaces and equipped all common spaces with multiple, portable hand-washing and sanitization stations
- 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 work closely with local Public Health Agencies and the Ministry of Labour to ensure our infection control measures are effective and up-to-date
- We meet weekly with our onsite CFIA management team to share information and establish collaborative efforts to keep all of our employees safe
- We work together with the rest of our industry to share knowledge and develop best practices, and continue to consult with health experts and regulators to ensure that we are doing the best possible job in combating the spread of this disease
We remain committed to ensuring our workplace is safe and fulfilling the high consumer demand for healthy, safe, best-quality chicken.
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