Government of Canada invests $7.8 million to help keep workers safe at Prairie meat plants

News release

March 2, 2021 – Winnipeg, Manitoba – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian food producers and processors have stepped up to deliver quality food for Canadians. From the outset, the Government of Canada has supported their investments in safety measures and in capacity to keep up with demand.

Today, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Special Representative for the Prairies, the Honourable Jim Carr, announced support of up to $7.8 million through the Emergency Processing Fund for 24 meat processing companies across the Prairies. This funding helps these businesses keep employees safe and the regional food supply chain running strong.

Recipients are using this funding to make adjustments to enable social distancing, purchase reuseable personal protective equipment (PPE), install protective barriers, improve sanitation and develop training for employees. These changes are also helping the food plants avoid production bottlenecks and safely keep up with Canadian consumer demand.

The announcement was made alongside two of the 24 recipients:

  • Winkler Meats Ltd., a federally inspected abattoir and processing plant in Manitoba, which is receiving up to $1,447,693; and,
  • Viva Deli, a meat processing and retail operation in Alberta, which is receiving up to $70,184.

The Government of Canada will continue working with food processors to protect the health and well-being of workers in food processing plants across Canada and strengthen our food supply chain.

Quotes

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on many challenges for the food processing industry, in particular for meat processing plants of all sizes. The hard-working women and men in this industry continue to step up to ensure Canadians have high-quality food on their plates. Through the Emergency Processing Fund, we are giving businesses the support they need to keep their employees safe and our food systems running strong.”

- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food 

“Our Prairie meat businesses have shown incredible resilience throughout this time of crisis. The investments announced today are helping many local businesses adapt their operations to help protect the health and safety of their employees which will allow them to continue supplying good food for Canadians.”

- The Honourable Jim Carr, Special Representative for the Prairies 

“We applaud the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food’s efforts and support for the meat processing industry. 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.”

- Dickson Gould, President, Winkler Meats Ltd.

“We are very grateful for support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada during this pandemic. 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. 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.”

- Inessa and Vitali Kojlo, Owners, Viva Deli

Quick facts

  • The $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund is helping food processors implement measures to protect the health and safety of workers and their families in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with an emphasis on supporting meat processing facilities in Canada. The Fund also supports facility upgrades to help strengthen Canada's food supply.

  • Across the Prairies, the meat processing industry accounts for 19,000 jobs and $12 billion in sales, nearly half of total food processing jobs and sales on the Prairies.

  • Today’s announcement builds on other measures introduced to keep Canada's agri-workforce strong, including:

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Contacts

Jean-Sébastien Comeau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
jean-sebastien.comeau@canada.ca
343-549-2326

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972
aafc.mediarelations-relationsmedias.aac@canada.ca
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