Conestoga Meats – Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic



At Conestoga Meats, the health and well-being of our employees, producers, customers, suppliers, and community is our top priority.

We understand the concern and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and are committed to being responsive to the needs of these stakeholders.

As a result, Conestoga Meats is continuously monitoring the development of the Coronavirus and evolving our contingency plan as required.

In turn, senior leadership is meeting daily with our cross-functional COVID-19 Containment Team to ensure coordinated efforts are focused as changes occur within our community and abroad.

We have also established a COVID-19 Action Team that is meeting daily and is responsible for coordinating, communicating and optimizing our processes, systems and people to ensure we are able to continue to provide pork to our customers.

Our key priorities remain:

  1. To ensure the health and welfare of our employees and community
  2. To maintain the supply chain for our producers and end users
  3. To continue to deliver a high level of service to our customers

In response to the ongoing social and economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, Conestoga Meats has implemented the following measures to support the efforts of its employees to continue to supply food to our community during our current health crisis.

People First:

As a result, starting March 23 and until further notice, Conestoga Meats will be paying a two dollars per hour “hero premium” to all hourly employees working at both our processing and distribution centre. This is in recognition of our team members who continue to work day-in and day-out to keep Ontario and the world fed. They come in ready to tackle each challenge and continue to provide a service to everyone. “They are like superheroes out on the floor. To many of them, they say it’s just work. Well, to us, they are the ones helping to keep our food supply going.” – Arnold Drung, President of Conestoga Meats

In addition, given the financial impact of being required to stay at home can be significant and waiting for EI or Short-Term Disability payments may prove difficult for some, Conestoga Meats is also offering interest free loans to those required to be off for an extended period of time.

Sanitizing:

Prior to the start of shifts, all employees are subject to screening questions specific to COVID-19 symptoms, potential exposure and recent travel. If they do not meet the criteria outlined in the questionnaire, the employee is sent home until cleared by a health professional.

We are working to ensure hand sanitizer is always available at every employee entrance and employees are encouraged to use it upon entry to the workplace. Otherwise the practice of frequent handwashing with soap and warm water is being communicated.

We have also hired additional staff to clean common touch surfaces throughout our facilities, as well as monitor washing stations at points of entry to the plant to ensure all workers entering production areas are sanitizing properly.

Social Distancing:

Conestoga Meats continues to take all possible measures to ensure appropriate social distancing for our employees.

As such, we have expanded employee-eating areas to include repurposed meeting rooms as well as additional heated tents to aid in social distancing during break times.

We have rearranged our shifts to have fewer people at the plant at one time and are using alternate entries into the plant to maximize social distancing and minimize interaction at shift changes as much as possible.

As well, to further reduce possible line ups at the beginning and end of shifts, we have eliminated the need to punch in and out for regular shifts.

We have also suspended all unnecessary training and meetings and are conducting essential meetings electronically or by teleconference.

Supervising and Worker Health and Safety:

We are leveraging previously implemented daily huddles to ensure any new directions or additional precautions are explained to staff with opportunity for questions or concerns to be addressed.

Supervisors and the Health and Safety team have been monitoring eating areas and corridors to ensure employees are not congregating and ensuring the best possible traffic flow.

Written COVID-19 updates are being posted to workers daily in seven different languages and diagrams are being provided where possible. Daily updates will be provided via Dayforce as well.

All workers that have recently returned from holiday have been contacted by phone and have been self- isolating where necessary.

Given the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, Conestoga Meats will be updating this information as new developments occur. Last update: Tuesday, April 2, 2020, 11:15 a.m.