Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, Maple Leaf Foods has been vigilant in its response. As circumstances continue to evolve, we are approaching the next operating phase with the same level of caution and vigilance we adopted in our initial response. Although we moved quickly and aggressively in deploying safety measures against COVID-19, we will move slowly and cautiously in moving into a “new normal” state of operations, guided every step of the way by public health experts.
Every day, we seek ways to strengthen our protective measures even further, following the Centers for Disease Control and Canadian Food Inspection Agency recommendations. Our plants and people have transformed how they operate through social distancing, plexiglass separators on production lines where possible, marks on floors to control movement in certain directions and efforts to decrease density, like staggered shifts and additional break space. These changes can be seen in a video about our efforts.
Protecting Our People
The welfare of our people is of paramount importance to us.
Throughout our Maple Leaf Foods network, our prevention efforts continue, including:
- Increasing social distancing where ever possible
- Temperature checks and daily health screenings upon arrival
- Mandatory face coverings for all of Team Members at all sites
- Increased sanitation in common welfare areas like cafeterias, locker rooms and breakrooms
- Staggered breaks and start times to reduce the potential for congestion
- Addition of trailers and tents to decrease density during breaks
- Ongoing reminders to all team members NOT to come to work when feeling ill or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Our message: When you take care of yourself, you take care of all of us.
We also carefully monitor the effective implementation of these protective measures.
These extra efforts augment our normal, thorough, daily sanitation procedures and widespread use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all our sites. We are absolutely committed to protecting the health and safety of our people and will continue to update our practices following the most current CDC guidelines.
Our front-line team members who are coming to work to continue making food people need are truly heroes and we committed to providing them weekly bonuses through April, which we extended through May. In late May, the company approved a further and final extension through the end of June as all of our safety protocols are now in place.
We have also set up a program to make support available for team members who are prevented from working due to COVID-19 related illness, symptoms or suspension of plant operations, which will be coordinated with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Caring for Our Communities
Maple Leaf Foods is also actively engaged in supporting our communities through this crisis. We announced several important actions to support our communities through emergency food relief and financial support for front line health care workers.
We recognize that our food products are essential in nourishing people, and even more so in times like this.
We are committed to executing our business with excellence, protecting the health of our people, being vigilant in mitigating the risk of the spread of the virus and producing the food people need through these challenging times.