Food processors in Canada boost employee pay amid COVID-19 pandemic

Some of Canada’s food processors joined other companies in increasing pay for hourly staff working hard to ensure the country’s food supply remains strong during the coronavirus pandemic.

“In this global crisis, we are compelled to look beyond our business and do what we can to support the many dedicated people who continue to deliver the critical services we depends on,” said Maple Leafs Foods Inc. CEO Michael McCain in a statement.

The food processor announced Monday it would start paying its hourly employees at production and distribution facilities an extra $80 per week. That bonus is in addition to regular and overtime pay.

The bonus comes as Maple Leaf also announced $2 million to support emergency food relief efforts and $2.5 million for a new fund to provide personal support to front-line health providers.

Cargill Ltd., a Winnipeg-based merchandiser and processor that employs more than 8,000 people in the country, will also dole out additional pay.

Cargill will pay an extra $2 per hour, with a bonus of $500 to employees who complete weekly shifts over eight consecutive weeks, starting Monday, said United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 175 and 633 in a statement. The two chapters represent more than 70,000 employees in sectors including grocery retail and industrial food preparation.

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