Maple Leaf Foods plans to build a $660 million value-added fresh poultry facility in London, Ontario.
Construction will begin next year and the plant is scheduled to open in the spring of 2021.
Operations at St. Mary’s, Toronto and Brampton will be folded into the new plant.
The company said the 640,000 square foot facility is expected to be one of the most technologically-advanced poultry-processing plants in the world, with leading-edge food safety, environmental, and animal welfare processes and technologies.
Funding for the project includes a capital investment of approximately $605.5 million from Maple Leaf Foods, an investment of $34.5 million fromOntario and a $20 million investment from the federal government.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said it’s the biggest investment ever in the province’s agriculture industry.
The federal government is also drawing $8 million from its AgriInnovate Fund to provide a loan.
Maple Leaf will invest a further $5 million over the next five years on projects that accelerate adoption of advanced manufacturing and production technologies and support the company's goal to reduce its environmental footprint by 50 per cent by 2025, the company news release said.
The plants being closed are 50 to 60 years old, with location, footprint and infrastructure constraints that limit opportunities to expand and modernize to meet growing market demand, the company said.
When the McCain family took over Maple Leaf Foods, whenever I met Michael McCain I would goad him to either build a competitive processing plant or sell to somebody who would.
Without a thoroughly modern and competitive poultry processing plant with a volume efficiencies, Ontario will be a sitting duck to lose its poultry processing sector to U.S. competitors as tariffs continue to decline.
The Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board deserves credit for changing policies to encourage small-scale niche-market production and processing which stand a better chance of survival.