Canadian company Maple Leaf Foods has unveiled plans to build a C$660m ($498m) value-added fresh poultry facility in London, Ontario, Canada.
The 640,000ft² facility is expected to be a technologically advanced poultry-processing plant, with latest food safety, environmental and animal welfare processes and technologies.
Funding includes a capital investment of C$605.5m ($457m) from Maple Leaf Foods, C$34.5m ($26m) from the Government of Ontario, C$20m ($15m) from the Government of Canada under the Strategic Innovation Fund, and $8m loan from the AgriInnovate Fund.
As part of the federal funding agreement, Maple Leaf will invest an additional $5m over the next five years in projects that promote adoption of advanced manufacturing and production technologies and support the company’s goal to reduce its environmental footprint by 50% by 2025.
Maple Leaf Foods president and CEO Michael McCain said: “This world-class facility will enable Maple Leaf to meet the steadily growing consumer demand for premium, value-added poultry products, and strengthen Canada’s food system.
“It will incorporate leading edge food safety, environmental and animal care technologies that advance our vision to be the global leader in sustainable protein.
“This is a historic investment in the Canadian poultry sector, providing significant stakeholder and economic benefits and ensuring that Canada has sufficient domestic processing capacity to meet forecasted poultry production and demand.”
Construction is expected to begin in 2019 and the facility is expected to commence operations in the second quarter of 2021.
Initially, the new plant will support more than 1,450 direct full and part-time jobs, with additional job growth as production volumes increase over time.
Maple Leaf will work with local agencies to recruit and train people and provide skilled jobs in a safe and inclusive workplace.
Around 300 jobs are expected to be created during the construction and an additional 1,400 indirect jobs in the supplies and services sector.
The London facility is expected to generate C$1.2bn of annual economic activity once it is fully operational.
Production from Maple Leaf’s three sub-scale and aging plants in Ontario will eventually be consolidated into the new facility.
Image: Aerial view of future Maple Leaf Foods poultry facility location in London, Ontario. Photo: Courtesy of Maple Leaf Foods.