An update from Maple Lodge Farms regarding the ongoing COVID -19 Pandemic
Last week, Ontario again reported record-breaking numbers of new COVID-19 cases. The rolling seven-day average of new daily cases in the Province now stands at 1,560. Toronto and Peel regions remain in lockdown under the Ontario Government’s COVID-19 response framework.
We are encouraged by the Federal government’s recent approval of vaccines deemed to be effective against COVID-19. However, it is purported that, for the population to be immunized, it could take up to 18 months. Given the growing number of cases in our communities and the projections that cases could continue to rise over the winter, the reality is that we will be dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for some time, making it imperative that we remain diligent in following public health recommendations.
Across our Ontario operations (approximately 2600 people), we have been notified of a total of 56 employees testing positive for the disease since mid-April requiring contact tracing in our facilities; 10 in the past week. At this time, our operations remain unaffected but given the rapidly rising number of cases in our communities, we remain extra vigilant.
Given the persistent and growing threat of the virus, we continue to impress upon our employees the constant need to follow all preventive measures carefully, both inside and outside of the workplace, in order to protect their health.
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
Although we are confident in the preventive measures we have put in place, we remain focused on continuous improvement, updating our policies, procedures and preventive measures, as knowledge and science evolves, in order to keep our employees, communities, suppliers and customers safe, and our business running. As an essential workplace, we are working hard to ensure that we can continue to keep food on the table of Canadians throughout these extraordinary times.
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