Maple Leaf Foods is now about six months away from closing the doors at its historic Courtland Avenue plant in Ward 9.
Closure will happen in waves during that time but, when the final shutdown comes in December, the original 1,200 people destined to lose jobs at the former Schneiders plant is expected to have decreased to about 500.
That reduction has to do with the number of retirements and volunteer departures that have taken place since Maple Leaf announced the closure and transfer of business to a modern Hamilton facility three years ago. It also has to do with the fact several workers have transferred to the new facility while others have taken the opportunity to enroll in retraining courses.
From what I have seen while serving as council’s representative on a task force overseeing the closure, Maple Leaf deserves credit for helping to reduce the number of workers who will eventually be laid off.
Among actions taken by the company in coming months will be a job-transition website and an employee job centre located near Kitchener’s downtown that will open in September to help employees find alternate jobs or take government retraining and educational programs.