MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO – Two employees working at different Maple Leaf Foods processing plants tested positive for COVID-19, the company said. One individual worked at the Heritage Plant in Hamilton, Ontario, and the other person worked at a plant in Brampton, Ontario.
“Both Team Members are at home and we are keeping in touch with them,” Maple Leaf said. “At the plants, we immediately implemented our COVID-19 response plans, making sure that all health, safety and sanitation measures were implemented, including notifying any coworkers who had close contact with these individuals so that they can self-quarantine for 14 days.”
Maple Leaf will continue to collaborate with public health agencies and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to ensure a safe work environment for employees as operations at both the Heritage Plant and the Brampton Plan resume.
“We continue to ship and export normally and we have not experienced any significant issues with our ability to procure necessary supplies,” the company said. “We will continue to work very closely with our supply chain partners and given that the situation is extremely fluid, we will continue to engage in thorough contingency planning.”
Some of the steps in the response plan the company has taken include:
- Applying COVID-19 screening tools at all Maple Leaf Foods locations.
- Requiring employees to work from home whenever possible. Where that is not possible, the company is taking additional precautions, including creating workspaces that maximize social distance.
- Increasing sanitation in cafeterias, break rooms, locker rooms and washrooms. Break times are staggered to reduce the number of people in common areas.
- Repurposing some plant offices and bringing in trailers to create additional break room space, reduce density and increase social distancing between people.
- Eliminating in-person meetings unless absolutely required and leveraging technology to facilitate meetings and other interactions as much as possible.
- Restricting visitors to Maple Leaf Foods offices and sites and foregoing any in-person visits to customers, suppliers, producers or other business partners.
- Prohibiting business travel.
- Imposing return to work restrictions for team members who have traveled internationally personally or live with anyone who has traveled internationally.
- Ensuring that employees who are required to self-quarantine continue to get paid in line with the company’s short-term disability plans.
- Bringing in a medical expert advisor to assist with the development and implementation of the company’s response plans.
“Our ongoing COVID-19 prevention efforts, including additional sanitation in common welfare areas and careful social distancing, coupled with our thorough, daily sanitation procedures will help us ensure that our people are as healthy and safe as possible,” the company said. “As events continue to unfold, we will follow the advice of leading world health and disease control organizations. We will continue to monitor developments and will further adapt our policies and practices as new information becomes available.”