March 26, 2020

B.C. Food & Beverage (BCFB) applauds the announcement by the BC government designating the food and beverage manufacturing sector as an essential service, which will offer more protection to secure the food supply in BC.

The announcement by the province comes after advocacy efforts by BCFB and other industry groups which represent food, beverage and natural health product manufacturers in BC. “Declaring food production, agriculture and its corresponding supply chain an essential service is an essential step to secure the continuation of the food supply to British Columbians,” says James Donaldson, CEO of BCFB. “We are grateful to see the declaration by the BC government. “

“BC Food & Beverage will be working with government to ensure employees have access to everything they need to continue their essential operations in a safe environment,” says Donaldson. “We will also be working with other stakeholders to ensure the food supply chain is maintained for all British Columbians.”

“Food production staff are essential and having the tools and resources to work safely is our top priority. There are more than 39,000 people employed in the sector in BC alone, which at $15B annually, is the largest manufacturing sector in BC and a critical component to BC’s economy.

“Essential service designation for the food supply chain will assist in procuring sanitation supplies including hand sanitizers, masks, and other essentials that are needed to provide adequate protection for employees,” says Donaldson. “We owe it to these employees to assure them that they are not risking their families or themselves by continuing to come to work, and we need to fulfill our ethical and moral obligation to keep essential products on the shelves of grocery store and homes.

The BC Government has repeatedly highlighted the importance of preserving our food and supply chain by ensuring continued access to local foods which is appreciated by all associated with our industry. On behalf of the 39,000 employees in the industry, BC Food & Beverage will continue to lead and support industry and serve as part of the solution to our urgent and time sensitive situation.


SAINT-HYACINTHE, QC, March 24, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - Due to the gravity of the situation and the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, Olymel is announcing support measures that will apply to its facilities in Quebec and the rest of Canada in order to support the efforts of its employees and continue to supply food to the citizens affected by the current health crisis. Starting March 23 and until further notice, the company will be paying a fixed bonus of two dollars per hour to all employees who are paid by the hour working in pork production, slaughtering operations, processing, further processing, transportation, maintenance, and warehousing, whether or not they have a collective agreement, in both the pork and poultry sectors. The vast majority of Olymel employees across Canada will benefit from this bonus, which may be as much as 80 dollars extra a week.

Furthermore, the company is announcing that all administrative support service employees whose physical presence is not essential will be able to work from home.

It has already been several weeks since Olymel implemented a wide variety of measures to combat the spread of this coronavirus, including:

  • The recruitment of two medical experts to advise the company regarding the COVID-19 situation and ways to apply the directives of public health authorities;
  • The distribution of 5 communiqués and an information guide on the subject of COVID-19 since March 6;
  • The creation and implementation of action plans to optimize common areas in our establishments and modify scheduled breaks and lunchtimes in order to maximize precautionary distancing measures;
  • The adoption of additional disinfection measures for common areas such as locker rooms, bathrooms, cafeterias and transportation shuttles;
  • The required 14-day self-isolation paid by the employer of all employees returning from abroad, as well as temporary foreign workers arriving after government directives on that subject;
  • And last but not least, the prohibition of visits to our establishments and all non-essential travel.

"We are committed to our regions and communities. Olymel has mobilized all of its HR staff to support its employees through this crisis. This mobilization will continue for as long as necessary. Our company intends to efficiently meet the food needs of the population and appreciates the agri-food production and processing sectors being designated as essential manufacturing activities by governments, particularly in Quebec. Like the population and the governments, we recognize the essential nature of the work our employees are doing. Despite the difficult circumstances, they are working hard to produce safe and healthy food that the population needs," says Réjean Nadeau, President and CEO of Olymel L.P.


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