Maple Leaf Foods on Nov. 26 unveiled plans for a $660 million value-added fresh poultry facility in London, Ontario. Construction of the 640,000-sq.-ft. facility is expected to begin in the spring of 2019, with start-up planned for the second quarter of 2021.
The new plant will initially support some 1,450 direct full- and part-time jobs, with additional job growth as production volumes increase over time.
Cincinnati-based Hixson Architecture & Engineering is the lead firm to design and engineer the plant, with WalterFedy collaborating to provide architecture and engineering services. The plant is expected to be one of the most technologically advanced poultry-processing plants in the world, incorporating leading-edge food safety, environmental, and animal welfare processes and technologies.
"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," said Michael McCain, president/CEO of Maple Leaf Foods. And it will be the largest single-site investment ever made in the Canadian food sector.
Funding for the project includes approximately $605.5 million from Maple Leaf Foods, $34.5 million from the Government of Ontario and $20 million from the Government of Canada under the Strategic Innovation Fund. In addition, the company is receiving an $8 million loan from the AgriInnovate Fund. As part of the federal funding agreement, Maple Leaf will invest another $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% by 2025.