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Maple Leaf Foods closing its Brantford, Ont. plant

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Maple Leaf Foods announced Wednesday that it is closing its Brantford, Ont. plant in early 2025.

The Canning Street facility was built in 1899 and then rebuilt after a fire in the 1940s.

The company said the building, which is now more than a century old, “would likely require significant ongoing investment to continue long-term operations.”

“Consolidating production into our current network allows us to reallocate our resources and increase our efficiencies by further optimizing the existing, more modern facilities in our network," Curtis Frank, the president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, said in a media release. 

Mayor Kevin Davis was saddened by the decision.

"They told us that it’s just not even practically possible to upgrade [the building]," he said Thursday. "So while we understand the decision they’re making, you know, it's disappointing."

Approximately 170 people currently work at the Brantford facility. They learned about the planned closure on Wednesday.

Maple Leaf Foods is promising to help employees through the transition, potentially offering them jobs at other plants.

"My first concern for the families, for the employees and their families and the impact it’s going to have on them," added Davis. "I was relieved to hear that it’s not going to happen overnight."

The company also pledged to work with the community to find an alternate use for the Canning Street property.

The Maple Leaf Foods plant in Brantford, Ont. on May 23, 2024. (Ashley Bacon/CTV Kitchener)

In an email to CTV News, Maple Leaf Foods said: "We deeply regret the impact on our Brantford team members and in line with our values, will treat them with fairness and respect. We will work with the affected team members to provide support and assistance through this transition. The Brantford plant is central to several other Maple Leaf Foods plant locations including Guelph, London, and Hamilton. Consistent with our track record, we are aiming to support and identify opportunities in our network for those impacted wherever possible."

According to their website, the Brantford site produces approximately 9.4 million kilograms of food a year, including chicken wings and chicken tenders, as well as chicken, turkey and beef fajitas.

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