MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO – Prohibiting business travel, restricting visitors to offices and facilities and requiring employees to work from home when possible are among the precautions being taken by Maple Leaf Foods to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

“At the present time, all plants are operating, and our company is only minimally impacted,” Maple Leaf said. “We continue to ship and export normally and we have not experienced any significant issues with our ability to procure necessary supplies. We will continue to work very closely with our supply chain partners and given that the situation is extremely fluid, we will continue to engage in thorough contingency planning.” 

Meanwhile, the company said it has already established and proven biosecurity and food safety practices utilized at the company’s processing plants that are being used as the basis for enhancing its business practices at Maple Leaf offices and non-operational facilities.

As the threat of the virus escalated in recent weeks, the company implemented more rigorous visitor screening and self-quarantine protocols, and since the coronavirus has been declared a pandemic in the past week, Maple Leaf announced new measures on March 15. Additional steps include requiring employees to work from home when possible and when not possible creating work spaces that are as isolated as possible to maximize social distancing. Employees have been asked to utilize technology to facilitate meetings to avoid in-person meetings when possible.

Maple Leaf also announced it is prohibiting business travel and requires employees or members of their household who are traveling internationally to notify the company. Those employees are required to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to work and must comply with the company’s screening protocol for the coronavirus prior to returning to company facilities.

Employees reporting symptoms are required to stay home and the company said those people and anyone required to self-quarantine will not be financially penalized and will continue to be paid as part of Maple Leaf’s short-term disability plan. 

To keep employees informed, the company has created an intranet site to provide updates and address concerns and questions. 

“We recognize that our food products are essential in nourishing people, and even more so in times like this,” the company said. “We are committed to continuing to execute our business with excellence, maintaining operational stability and the health of our people and being vigilant in the steps we are taking to mitigate the risk of the spread of the virus in the communities where we operate.”