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Government of Canada invests $16.9 million to improve worker safety and strengthen the food supply chain in British Columbia



DELTA, BC, March 5, 2021 /CNW/ - 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 helped food processors invest in safety measures and maintain their capacity to keep up with demand.

Today, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and Member of Parliament for Delta, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough and Member of Parliament for Surrey Centre, Randeep Sarai, announced support of up to $16.9 million through the Emergency Processing Fund for 117 food processing companies in British Columbia.

With this funding, recipients are adopting measures to help keep employees safe. This includes making adjustments to enable social distancing, purchasing reuseable personal protective equipment (PPE), increasing cleaning, improving air circulation within their facilities and developing employee training. These improvements help producers and processors supply Canadians with the food they need during this unprecedented time.

The announcement was made alongside Earth's Own Food Company, a health food and beverage manufacturing company in Delta, which is receiving up to $2,638,210.

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. We are here to support our essential food workers, who continue to provide Canadians access to a secure food supply. 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

"As we continue to fight against this pandemic, our support for workers is unwavering. Through every challenge, workers and employers have shown true resiliency to keep doing their important work and keep each other safe. The health and safety of workers and their families is always a top priority and through the Emergency Processing Fund, we are going one step further in supporting companies, including here in Delta, as they adapt operations to help safeguard employees."
- The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and Member of Parliament for Delta

"Food processing companies here in British Columbia and across the country have been critical to keeping the food supply strong throughout this challenging year. The projects announced today are allowing many local businesses to make safety upgrades for the wellbeing of their workers and the sector alike."
- Randeep Sarai, Member of Parliament for Surrey Centre

"This program has allowed us to rapidly adapt our new installation in real-time to respond to the elevated health needs and requirements of the COVID-19 world. Additionally, the program enabled us to significantly improve our sanitizing and temperature monitoring protocols and processes on-site to further support our robust COVID-19 mitigation strategies. This helped maintain continued good employee hygiene inside the facility and community health outside, and allowed for our continued, uninterrupted essential food operations to the BC and Canadian consumers."
- Jeremy Switzer, Plant Manager, Earth's Own Food – Annacis Plant

Quick Facts

Announced in May 2020, 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. A further $10 million is expected to be allocated from internal funds.
There are over 3,000 food processing companies in British Columbia, producing approximately $9 billion worth of food per year and supporting more than 26,000 jobs.
Today's announcement builds on other measures introduced to keep Canada's agri-workforce strong, including:
almost $85 million in funding for the Mandatory Isolation Support Program for Temporary Foreign Workers to assist Canadian employers with some of the incremental costs associated with the mandatory 14-day isolation period imposed under the Quarantine Act on temporary foreign workers upon entering Canada; and,
a $35-million Emergency On-Farm Support Fund to boost protections for domestic and temporary foreign workers and address COVID-19 outbreaks on farms.


For further information: 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

www.agr.gc.ca