MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO — Maple Leaf Foods confirmed on April 13 that three separate processing plants have employees that have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Canadian meat producer said that two employees at its Viau plant in Montreal tested positive. Maple Leaf acquired Viau Foods, a Canadian producer of premium Italian cooked, dry-cured and charcuterie meats, in October 2018.
The company previously reported three cases at its Brampton, Ontario, poultry plant, where it has suspended operations temporarily. There are now five cases originating at that plant.
Maple Leaf said employees are at home and the company remains in contact with them. Maple Leaf immediately implemented the COVID-19 response plans to make sure that all health, safety and sanitation measures were followed including having any coworkers who had close contact with the infected individuals self-quarantine for 14 days.
On April 7, one person at the Maple Leaf Hamilton, Ontario, plant also tested positive for the virus.
Maple Leaf reiterated that it would continue to collaborate with public health agencies and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to ensure a safe work environment for employees at operations across the country.
Maple Leaf continues to implement additional precautionary measures in their facilities including:
- Applying COVID-19 screening tools at all Maple Leaf Foods locations.
- Requiring employees to work from home whenever possible. Where that is not possible, the company is taking additional precautions, including creating workspaces that maximize social distance.
- Increasing sanitation in cafeterias, break rooms, locker rooms and washrooms. Break times are staggered to reduce the number of people in common areas.
- Repurposing some plant offices and bringing in trailers to create additional break room space, reduce density and increase social distancing between people.
- Eliminating in-person meetings unless absolutely required and leveraging technology to facilitate meetings and other interactions as much as possible.
- Restricting visitors to Maple Leaf Foods offices and sites and foregoing any in-person visits to customers, suppliers, producers or other business partners.
- Prohibiting business travel.
- Imposing return to work restrictions for team members who have traveled internationally personally or live with anyone who has traveled internationally.
- Ensuring that employees who are required to self-quarantine continue to get paid in line with the company’s short-term disability plans.
- Bringing in a medical expert advisor to assist with the development and implementation of the company’s response plans.