WINNIPEG, MANITOBA – The government of Canada announced funding of C$7.8 million for 24 meat processing plants to implement COVID-19 mitigation measures that protect workers while helping the food plants avoid production bottlenecks. The plants are located across the Prairie Provinces – Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Facilities can use the funding to enable social distancing, purchase reusable personal protective equipment (PPE), install protective barriers, improve sanitation and develop training for employees. The funding is part of the C$77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund which helps food processors implement measures to protect the health and safety of meat plant workers and their families. The fund also supports facility upgrades to help strengthen Canada's food supply.

“We are very grateful for support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada during this pandemic,” said Inessa and Vitali Kojlo, owners of Viva Deli, a federally inspected abattoir and processing plant in Alberta, which is receiving up to C$70,184.

“As we are a new food manufacturing company, the funding has helped us to accommodate all the regulations that were put in place during COVID-19,” the Kojlos said. “We were able to keep operating our facility, keep a safe environment for our staff by separating our employees, improving our air quality and being compliant with local/provincial regulations.”

Winkler Meats Ltd., a federally inspected abattoir and processing plant in Manitoba, is receiving up to C$1,447,693.

“We applaud the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food’s efforts and support for the meat processing industry,” said Dickson Gould, president of Winkler Meats. “The funding will help us continue, to keep our employees safe with increased social distancing and make our plant resilient in supplying Valley Lea Farms Fresh Pork and Winkler’s line of sausage products to Canadians.”