Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruptions to Canada’s food system, while demonstrating the need for more diversified food processing capacity. As a result, Canadian livestock producers and meat processors have taken on unexpected and exceptional activities to manage health and safety during the pandemic. The Government of Canada is helping meat processors invest in safety measures to protect their workers and in facility improvements that strengthen Canada’s food supply.
Today, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Parliamentary Secretary Neil Ellis and Member of Parliament for Kitchener–Conestoga, Tim Louis, highlighted support of up to $12.2 million through the Emergency Processing Fund for 42 meat processing companies in Ontario.
With this funding, recipients are adopting measures to help keep employees safe and increase their capacity. This includes making adjustments to enable social distancing, purchasing reuseable personal protective equipment (PPE), implementing biosecurity measures, installing protective barriers and developing employee training. Funds are also supporting facility upgrades and new equipment to help boost production capacity.
Parliamentary Secretary Ellis and MP Louis highlighted this support at a virtual event with Leavoy Rowe Beef Co., a specialty cutter and distributor of high-end meat products in Mississauga, which is receiving up to $1,303,904.
The Government of Canada will continue working with food processors to protect the health and well-being of workers in food processing plants across Canada and strengthen our food supply chain.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many challenges for the food processing industry, in particular for meat processing plants of all sizes. Through these investments, we are helping meat processors here in Ontario keep their workers safe so they can continue delivering quality meat products to our grocery shelves. We are also supporting projects that increase processing capacity so we can strengthen Canada’s food supply and grow this important industry.”
– Neil Ellis, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“Ontario’s meat processing sector is a major contributor to our local economy. The hardworking people in this industry have shown incredible resilience throughout this crisis. These projects through the Emergency Processing Fund are helping meat processors in Kitchener–Conestoga and throughout our region improve both worker safety and production capacity to keep our food supply running strong.”
– Tim Louis, Member of Parliament for Kitchener–Conestoga
“For the past 15 years in business I have predominantly relied on restaurants to keep me afloat but this virus has decimated that industry. This funding helps tremendously as I’ve had to reinvent my business and in order to remain innovative, I require new equipment to supply other retail stores. This assistance also ensures that my staff remain employed with the possibility of bringing more people aboard.”
– Rod Rowe, Owner, Leavoy Rowe Beef Co.
“Projects funded through the Emergency Processing Fund have assisted Ontario meat processors as they adapt to address the impacts of COVID-19, ensure the safety of their employees and maximize production in their facilities. From butchers to larger meat processors, this funding has had a positive impact across the agri-food supply chain, as the sector works hard to ensure quality products are available for consumers.”
– Chris Hiemstra, Chair, Agricultural Adaptation Council
- To date, the Emergency Processing Fund has provided up to $32.5 million for a total of 188 projects in Ontario. The $12.2 million highlighted today includes three previously announced projects.
- Announced in May 2020, the $77.5-million Emergency Processing Fund is helping food processors implement measures to protect the health and safety of workers and their families in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with an emphasis on supporting meat processing facilities in Canada. The Fund also supports facility upgrades to help strengthen Canada’s food supply. A further $10 million is expected to be allocated from internal funds, which would bring the total to $87.5 million.
- The Agricultural Adaptation Council, an industry-led organization that delivers funding programs that stimulate growth and opportunity for Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food industry, supported the delivery of the Emergency Processing Fund across the province for applicants with funding requests under $100,000.
- There are 480 provincially licensed, and 230 federally licensed facilities (abattoirs and free-standing meat plants) in Ontario.
- Today’s announcement builds on other measures introduced to keep Canada’s agri-workforce strong, including:
- almost $85 million in funding for the Mandatory Isolation Support Program for Temporary Foreign Workers to assist Canadian employers with some of the incremental costs associated with the mandatory 14-day isolation period imposed under the Quarantine Act on temporary foreign workers upon entering Canada; and,
- a $35-million Emergency On-Farm Support Fund to boost protections for domestic and temporary foreign workers and address COVID-19 outbreaks on farms.