Maple Leaf Foods closes Brampton plant as more employees test positive for COVID-19

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Maple Leaf Foods announced Wednesday (April 8) that they've suspended operations at their Brampton poultry processing plant after more workers have tested positive for COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the company announced that two workers — one who worked at Hamilton's Heritage Plant, and another who worked at the plant in Brampton — had tested positive for the virus. Since then, two others have been confirmed positive from the Brampton plant.

All three employees are at home recovering and self-isolating, according to the company.

"After consultation with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which regulates and inspects our plants," the company says in an update on their website, "We have decided to suspend operations temporarily at our Brampton Poultry plant beginning today, April 8, to allow us to conduct a thorough investigation and a deep clean of the plant."

Hamilton's Heritage plant continues to operate as usual.

In a statement issued by Maple Leaf's President and CEO, Michael McCain, he said that the member who tested positive from the Hamilton plant had not been at work for the two weeks leading up to the positive test result.

Since the positive diagnosis, the Heritage Plant has undergone a thorough sanitation, the company says.

"Our first priority is to keep our people safe so the decision was made to shut down the [Brampton] facility, pending a full risk assessment," McCain said.

"We will not begin operating again until we are confident that it is safe to return to work."

The company says they will continue to work with Public Health agencies and the CFIA and to ensure the safety of employees and production.

In addition to our normal, thorough daily sanitation in their plants and the use of standard Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Maple Leaf says they are taking additional steps, including:

  • Increased, frequent sanitation of all common areas like breakrooms, washrooms, locker rooms and cafeterias
  • Careful social distancing through increased spacing on production lines where possible
  • Staggered breaks and shifts to prevent groups from forming
  • Conversion of offices to break rooms and the use of trailers to decrease the density of people during breaks
  • Phasing in of temperature screening of all front-line employees as we receive temperature scanners at all our sites

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