CANADA - Canadian meat processor Maple Leaf Foods has closed its Courtland Ave production plant in Kitchener, Ontario, the largest plant in its legacy network.
The decision to close the plant was announced in October 2011 as part of the Company's plan to significantly increase competitiveness and efficiency throughout its prepared meats network.
"While today marks the end of one era, it is a critical milestone in establishing Maple Leaf as a sustainably competitive and profitable Canadian food company," said Michael H. McCain, President and CEO, Maple Leaf Foods (pictured).
"We are well along with transitioning production to our new, state-of-the-art facility in Hamilton and realising the benefits of our modernized network.
“I want to personally thank all of our employees in Kitchener who displayed tremendous pride and dedication through a difficult and emotional transition. The Schnieders brand will always be an integral part of our company and history."
The Courtland Ave. plant was originally built in 1924 and owned by Schneider Foods. Production was transferred throughout Maple Leaf's network, primarily to a new, state-of-the-art 400,000 square foot prepared meats plant in Hamilton, Ontario.
The workforce in Kitchener was gradually moved out, with the majority of employees securing new jobs either at Maple Leaf or in the region, or taking advantage of training opportunities through the Schneiders Employee Association Action Centre.
This is the seventh of eight legacy plant closures planned as part of Maple Leaf's modernisation plan. In the past four years, the company has built its new production plant in Hamilton, invested in new technology and expansions at existing facilities in Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Brampton, and built a new 282,000 square foot distribution centre in south western Ontario.
The company simultaneously simplified its product portfolio to realise scale efficiencies and moved from multiple operating systems to one integrated platform.
Closure of the Courtland Ave. facility is expected to be accretive to results commencing in the second quarter.
TheMeatSite News Desk