SAINT BRUNO DE MONTARVILLE, QUEBEC – Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced  a number of projects approved for funding under Canada’s C$77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund, which is focused on projects that help companies respond to the health and safety needs of workers in agri-food sectors impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with an emphasis on supporting meat processing facilities.

Bibeau made the announcement at the Saint Bruno de Montarville, Quebec-based Exceldor Cooperative which is owned by 400 member poultry farmers. In Quebec, a total of seven food processors have been approved so far for up to C$1.8 million in funding, including Exceldor, Sunnymel Limited Partnership, Breton Tradition 1944, Oly-Robi Transformation Commandité, Saputo Dairy Products Canada, Serres Toundra Inc. and Montpak International. Exceldor will receive up to C$262,500 to purchase reusable personal protective equipment (PPE), and install equipment to ensure social distancing of staff at the plant.

Nationally in Canada, a total of 32 projects have been approved for up to C$10.54 million in funding.

“The support announced by the federal government today was expected and is much appreciated. Despite the many challenges related to COVID-19 in recent months, we have been able to remain present in order to continue to feed Canadians,” said René Proulx, president and chief executive officer of Exceldor Cooperative. “I would like to thank all of our employees who take their work to heart and who are still at their jobs despite the circumstances. We continue to be committed to providing a work environment that is adapted to the current pandemic conditions, and thus protecting the health of all our employees.”

The Emergency Processing Fund was established to help food processors implement measures to protect the health and safety of workers and their families in response to the pandemic. The fund also will support facility upgrades that help strengthen Canada’s food supply.

“Workers in the agri-food sector, in particular those working in meat processing, have faced many challenges throughout this pandemic and the government has been there to support them,” Bibeau said. “Ensuring the safety of these essential workers is key to continue providing safe, high quality food for all Canadians.”