Premier Kathleen Wynne 'very concerned' by Heinz closure

Premier Kathleen Wynne on Friday addressed the closure of the Heinz plant in Leamington, Ont.

Wynne had several talks with Heinz but did not elaborate on the topic

Premier Kathleen Wynne addressed the closure of Leamington's Heinz plant. 2:48

Premier Kathleen Wynne on Friday addressed the closure of the Heinz plant in Leamington, Ont.

Heinz announced on Thursday it would close its Leamington facility in mid-2014.

“It’s a huge concern of mine,” Wynne said. “It’s a concern as Minister of Agriculture and Food. It’s a concern as the Premier.

“I’m very, very concerned whenever a company that’s been in a community for a long time makes a change and shuts down.”

Heinz had been in Leamington for 104 years. Thursday, full-time Heinz employees 740 people lost their jobs.

“It’s a blow to the community. It reinforces my determination that we will bring more businesses and other businesses to Ontario,” Wynne said. “It’s not the whole story about the province. There are other businesses coming to the province. We need to find ways to help those individuals in Leamington make a transition to another job.”

Wynne said she called Leamington Mayor John Paterson regarding Heinz. She also said she spoke with the company, prior to the closure.

“I had had previous conversations a number of times with officials from Heinz,” Wynne said.

She did not elaborate on what was discussed.

Wynne, who last month called on the agri-business sector to double its workforce by 2020 said she still believes “food processing is one of our strengths in Ontario.”

She hopes a business invests in the plant.

“I’m not sure there’s a way to salvage [Heinz],” she said. “I don’t know what the possibilities are there.”

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