KITCHENER, ONTARIO – On April 7, Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Canadian minister of agriculture and agri-food, Neil Ellis, Parliamentary Secretary, and Tim Louis, member of parliament for Kitchener, Conestoga, highlighted support of up to C$12.2 million through the Emergency Processing Fund for 42 meat processing companies in Ontario.

The government of Canada will help Canadian livestock producers and meat processors protect workers and improve facilities to strengthen the nation’s food supply through the investment. Canada’s food system, like all those around the world, suffered significant disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, producers and processors have taken on unexpected and exceptional activities to manage health and safety.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many challenges for the food processing industry, in particular for meat processing plants of all sizes,” Ellis said. “Through these investments, we are helping meat processors here in Ontario keep their workers safe so they can continue delivering quality meat products to our grocery shelves. We are also supporting projects that increase processing capacity so we can strengthen Canada's food supply and grow this important industry.”

Recipients will use the funds to make adjustments that enable social distancing, purchase reusable personal protective equipment (PPE), implement biosecurity measures, install barriers and develop training protocols. The funds will also support upgrading facilities and purchasing new equipment for increasing capacity.

“Ontario's meat processing sector is a major contributor to our local economy,” Louis said. “The hardworking people in this industry have shown incredible resilience throughout this crisis. These projects through the Emergency Processing Fund are helping meat processors in Kitchener-Conestoga and throughout our region improve both worker safety and production capacity to keep our food supply running strong.”

Ellis and Louis showcased Canada’s government support via a virtual event with Leavoy Rowe Beef Co., a specialty cutter and distributor of high-end meat products in Mississauga. Leavoy Rowe will receive up to C$1,303,904 from the investment.

“For the past 15 years in business I have predominantly relied on restaurants to keep me afloat, but this virus has decimated that industry,” said Rod Rowe, owner of Leavoy Rowe Beef Co. “This funding helps tremendously as I've had to reinvent my business and in order to remain innovative, I require new equipment to supply other retail stores. This assistance also ensures that my staff remain employed with the possibility of bringing more people aboard.”

The C$12.2 million is in addition to up to C$32.5 million for a total of 188 projects in Ontario provided by the Emergency Processing Fund.