155 laid off in Cloverdale meat plant closure

Maple Leaf Inc. plans to amalgamate its operations.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has announced it will close its Cloverdale plant by September.

About 155 employees at a Cloverdale meat plant have been given layoff notices, as Maple Leaf Foods Inc. announced its closure.

The company said Tuesday that it will close its prepared meat plant at 55B Avenue and 176 Street as of Sept. 30, 2011.

The facility produces a wide variety of prepared meat products, including ham, sliced meats, sausage and deli products, primarily for retail and food service customers in Western Canada.

The company will gradually wind down operations starting in May 2011. Production will be consolidated at Maple Leaf’s prepared meats facilities in Saskatoon, Manitoba and Ontario where there is available capacity, after completing some upgrades.

“The closure of the Surrey plant is an important step towards consolidating our manufacturing at fewer, dedicated scale plants, resulting in reduced supply chain costs and better efficiencies,” said Rick Young, executive vice-president, consumer foods. “While necessary, we regret the impact on our skilled and dedicated employees. We will recognize their service and will support their transition to new employment.”

The company release said the closure will affect approximately 155 employees at the Surrey plant who will receive severance packages that go beyond provincial labour requirements, as well as personal counselling and ongoing outplacement services and workshops.

They will also be encouraged to seek employment at other Maple Leaf’s facilities, including three other facilities in British Columbia.

The company expects that closure costs, including severance, decommissioning and asset write-downs, will amount to approximately $12.1 million before tax, $4.6 million of which is cash expenses. Of the total closure costs, approximately $4 million will be recorded in the first quarter of 2011 and the remainder when the facility is decommissioned in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and employs approximately 22,500 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States, United Kingdom and Asia. The company had sales of $5.2 billion in 2009.