Production starts at Bonduelle plant days after $50M fire

Approximately 100 workers are on the job canning peas at the Bonduelle food processing plant Wednesday in Tecumseh, Ont.
Approximately 100 workers are on the job canning peas at the Bonduelle food processing plant Wednesday in Tecumseh, Ont. (Tecumseh Fire and Rescue)

Food processor Bonduelle has resumed full canning production at its Tecumseh, Ont., plant.

Approximately 100 workers are on the job canning peas.

Production lines fired up at noon Wednesday, less than a week after a fire caused $50 million in damages at the plant.

The fire, which broke out at 2 a.m. July 18, destroyed the storage freezer and dry goods warehouse on site. Production lines were saved.

The company credits the work of the firefighters from four municipalities for saving the production facility.

Bonduelle plans to rebuild in Tecumseh.

While they do, full-time employees out of work will collect employment insurance and Bonduelle will top up their wage to 95 per cent of what they would normally make.

When it comes to seasonal workers, some of them were to be back on the job Wednesday.

The company will also still pay those part-time and seasonal workers who were scheduled to work, but have not been called back.

The company will reevaluate that plan in two weeks.

Trevor Buchok was relieved to hear that.

"It's good news. For the next couple of weeks were taken care of," he said.

Ontario's Minister of Agriculture and Food Jeff Leal toured the Bonduelle food processing plant Tuesday.

Leal said the province is a partner in the rebuilding and recovery of the plant but hasn't been asked to do so.

"Bonduelle officials told me that they're fully insured," he said.

The former Green Giant plant is still worth $40 million to the local economy Tecumseh Gary McNamara said.

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