Maple Leaf
 The company plans to move operations to a new Sofina Foods plant.

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – Maple Leaf Foods announced plans to close its fresh turkey processing plant in Thamesford, Ontario, by 2018. Approximately 400 workers will be affected by the closure. 

Production will be moved in phases to a new Sofina Foods plant in Mitchell, Ontario as part of a new processing agreement between the companies, according to a news release. The agreement is expected to create a “more efficient and scaled turkey processing industry in Ontario.”

Michael McCain, CEO of Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
Michael H. McCain, CEO of Maple Leaf Foods

“We will continue to invest in and grow our market position in the Canadian turkey industry, including our relationships with producers, while retaining complete ownership of the high quality supply required to support growth in our value-added business,” said CEO Michael H. McCain in a statement. “This was a very difficult decision given the impact on our employees and the community, but necessary given the substantial physical limitations at our 80-year-old Thamesford plant.”

The company also pledged to work with the community of Thamesford to seek alternate uses for the property. The processing facility covers 140,000 sq. ft. on 160 acres.

Maple Leaf Foods reported net income of C$31.83 million ($24.8 million) for the third quarter of 2016. The company produces meat and poultry products under the Maple Leaf, Maple Leaf Prime, Maple Leaf Natural Selections, Schneiders, Schneiders Country Naturals and Mina brands.

Based in Markham, Ontario, privately owned Sofina Foods manufactures and distributes further-processed pork, beef and poultry products for retail and foodservice customers in Canada, the United States and Japan.