TORONTO – Maple Leaf Foods Inc. responded Dec. 3 to a request for a special meeting of shareholders by West Face Capital. The purpose of the meeting is to give shareholders the opportunity to vote on five, non-binding, advisory resolutions, West Face officials said.

"Maple Leaf Foods has an outstanding board, is recognized for the strength of its corporate governance, which is dominated by some of Canada's leading independent directors, and has always been committed to continuous improvement," said James Hankinson, chairman of the corporate governance committee of Maple Leaf's board of directors. "In fact, the board had already committed to a proactive process designed to result in constructive board renewal."

In light of the recent resignation of two directors appointed by Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, and their announcement to divest of their remaining shares of the company, Maple Leaf's board recently began an initiative to review board composition and succession. Specifically, the board has been engaged in dialogue with West Face and other shareholders to consider their views. The governance committee was scheduled to meet to consider these matters at the time of this notice.

"[Last week’s] statement by West Face and its decision to launch what we believe is a costly, and unnecessary process, knowing full well the board was already commissioning such a review including soliciting their input, is unproductive and contrary to the best interest of Maple Leaf Foods and its shareholders," Hankinson said.

Maple Leaf’s board will review West Face's requisition for a special meeting in detail and plans to provide further comment.