Maple Leaf Foods to consolidate three Ontario processing plants into new facility

Maple Leaf Foods has announced plans to spend $660 million to build a new, 640,000 square foot fresh poultry processing facility at London, Ont., and to invest in projects that “accelerate adoption of advanced manufacturing and production technologies.” Those investments support the company’s goal of reducing its environmental footprint by 50 per cent by 2025.

The new build will replace three plants at Brampton, St. Marys, and Toronto, all of which are set to close by late 2022.

On hand at the announcement, Ontario Premier Doug Ford pledged $34.5 million of government funds for Maple Leaf Foods’ “modern and innovative chicken processing plant.” The province’s portion will be handed out over the next five years. The federal government is in for $20 million under the Strategic Innovation Fund. Maple Leaf will also get a $8 million loan from the Agri-Innovate Fund.

The company says new plant will focus on “the highest standards for sustainability, food safety and animal welfare,” and should be operational by 2021.

Construction at the London site is set to begin in spring of 2019. The new plant will initially support more than 1,450 direct full and part-time jobs. Construction itself is expected to generate approximately 300 jobs, and the new plant is expected to create a further 1,400 indirect jobs in the supplies and services sector. The job increases generate an estimated $1.2 billion of annual economic activity once it is fully operational, the company says.

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