Created on 4/20/2021 5:46:48 PM
April 20, 2021 — Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada (FHCP) today expressed alarm that the City of Toronto and Region of Peel intend to include essential food processing facilities in mandatory 10-day closures for businesses with as few as five COVID-19 cases. The directive is slated to go into effect as early as Friday, is not appropriate for the region's many large and important food processing facilities, and puts Canada's food supply at risk.
FHCP CEO, Michael Graydon, commented: “While we share the commitment of the City of Toronto and the Region of Peel to stopping the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible, today's decision would put the country's food supply at unacceptable risk. Essential food and consumer goods manufacturing facilities and workers should be exempted immediately."
"The safety of our workers is the top priority for Canada's food and consumer goods manufacturing companies, many of whom call Toronto and the Region of Peel home. Our dedicated workforce has delivered for Canada despite the pandemic's unprecedented disruptions. Inflexible closure mandates for as few as five positive COVID-19 cases are not suited to the size and well-established safety and hygiene standards of our essential facilities."
The Greater Toronto area has the highest number of food and consumer product manufacturers in the country. Today’s announcement fails to consider the size of these facilities and the effective, comprehensive safety protocols put in place by manufacturers since the earliest days of the pandemic. The protections implemented include: COVID-19 hazard assessments; designated COVID-19 coordinators; entry screening measures and controls; increased sanitation and disinfection practices; training and education materials on COVID-19 symptoms and prevention; mandatory face coverings; and increased flexibility in leave policies and physical barriers in food production and other areas (e.g., break rooms, cafeterias).