400 layoffs from closure of Maple Leaf Foods plant

Maple Leaf Foods to close turkey processing plant in Thamesford, Ont. and outsource operations to Sofina Foods plant in Mitchell, Ont. Approximately 400 people will lose their jobs.

Turkey processing plant in Thamesford, Ont. to close in early 2018

Maple Leaf Foods to close Thamesford, Ont. turkey plant in 2018. (CBC)

Maple Leaf Foods will close its turkey processing plant in Thamesford, Ont. by early 2018 and outsource operations to Sofina Foods' new facility in Mitchell, Ont. The move means approximately 400 jobs will be lost. 

The company blames the age of their Thamesford plant, saying it's not feasible to maintain the facility.

"This was a very difficult decision given the impact on our employees and the community, but necessary given the substantial physical limitations at our 80-year-old Thamesford plant," said Maple Leaf Foods' Public Relations Director Annemarie Dijkhuis.

"We are providing [employees] with career transitioning services with an employment centre where we will help them with resume development, a job search, interview skills. We're also providing them with access to personal counselling for both themselves and for their families and we have arranged personal counsellors to be on site here at the plant today and they will remain here as long as they are needed."

In a news release, the company says the transition will occur over the next 18 months and the agreement "provides Maple Leaf with a cost-effective supply of high quality fresh turkey for further processing, and supports the Company's commitments to food safety, quality and animal care."

The company couldn't give any details on Thamesford workers being able to transfer to other Maple Leaf plants.