Keeping our people safe is Maple Leaf Foods’ priority. Public health experts in Canada and the U.S. have affirmed the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and their importance in protecting people as they return to their offices.
This virus has taken millions of lives in North America and globally, devastating families and communities. It is our moral obligation to do everything in our power to ensure the safety of our Team Members, and in turn our communities. That is why we will be requiring Maple Leaf Team Members who are returning to our corporate offices starting in September to show proof of vaccination.
We understand that some of our Team Members returning to our corporate offices may not be able to receive the vaccines for valid reasons. We will work with these individuals to identify appropriate accommodations on a case-by-case basis. What we won’t do is debate the decision to require vaccinations in our offices and we won’t apologize for it. When we protect our people, we also protect our communities. And as an infectious disease specialist recently said “If all we had was a pandemic of the vaccinated, it would be manageable.”
Many have asked about our plans for our operating facilities. Our #1 goal is to protect the health of all our people. And we also have to protect their JOBS! In the case of our office staff, we have more accommodation options, including the ability to work from home while still being a valued Team Member. Our front-line Team Members do not have a work from home option, so while we are providing every possible support to help them choose to be vaccinated through on-site vaccination clinics that have already occurred at several of our sites and through paid time off to secure vaccinations at local clinics, we are not requiring proof of vaccination. We also continue to operate vaccination awareness campaigns across our organization.
Last year we spent over $50M to build COVID protection protocols in all our operating facilities. These protocols have proven to be very effective in keeping our people safe throughout this pandemic. Although the majority of our Team Members at our operating facilities are fully vaccinated, we will maintain our safety protocols to protect both their health and their jobs. We will continue to prioritize the safety of our people and will follow the science in our decision-making.