London Mayor Matt Brown and Ontario Premier Doug Ford were all smiles Tuesday at a news conference to announce Maple Leaf Foods is building a $660-million poultry processing plant in south London. The province is contributing $34.5 million to the plant that will employ nearly 1,500 workers.
Premier Doug Ford was in London Tuesday to celebrate the announcement of a massive new Maple Leaf Foods poultry plant, tying the investment to his government’s moves to cut red tape and make Ontario “open for business.”
The $660-million investment is “the largest investment in food processing, ever, in Canada,” Ford told a crowd at the Canadian Centre for Product Validation in London Tuesday morning.
“We’re telling the world that Ontario is open for business.”
The 60,000-square-metre plant, to be built in London’s southeast near Highway 401, is expected to bring 1,500 jobs to London.
Ford was joined by federal and provincial politicians, including the federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay, who highlighted the federal government’s investment of $28 million in the plant, calling the plant “good news for Ontario workers.
“Maple Leaf will create over 300 jobs in construction. It will also support just under 1,500 middleclass jobs . . . and another 48 co-op students every year.”
Three other Maple Leafs plants — in Brampton, Perth South near St. Marys and Toronto — will close as the company consolidates production in London at what the company says will be one of the most technologically advanced poultry-processing plants in the world.
Ford shared tales from his time working for Canada Packers, now a part of Maple Leaf Foods, saying it was “the best job — until this job.”
He spoke about his government’s efforts to cut unnecessary regulations and stop labour reform — Bill 148 — in its tracks, calling it a “jobkilling bill.”
Production is expected to begin at the Maple Leaf Foods plant in 2021.
Kapil Lakhotia, head of the London Economic Development Corp., said the investment will build on London’s success in the agri-food industry. About 7,000 workers are employed at more than 60 agri-food businesses.
“The London region is already recognized as a major hub for food and beverage sector,” Lakhotia said Tuesday.
Maple Leaf Food is building a $660-million poultry processing plant on Wilton Grove Road south of Highway 401. The plant, shown in an architect’s drawing, will employ nearly 1,500 people.