As provinces across Canada re-open its economy, the country’s epicenter of the pandemic, Quebec, had the most number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported is back in the news, with another meatpacking plant closing due to the virus.
Cargill will shut down operations at its Chambly plant near Montreal, after more than 60 workers — about 10 percent of its workforce — tested positive for COVID-19.
This is the second Cargill meatpacking plant to stop operations amid the pandemic.
Hundreds of Filipino workers in Cargill’s facility in Alberta previously tested positive for the virus.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau again warned Canadians about prematurely re-opening economies, saying doing so too quickly may see Canadians back in confinement by the summer.
“Of course, I’m worried as a Quebecer, as a Montreal MP about the situation going on in my riding and in the province, as I am concerned about Canadians from coast to coast to coast as prime minister. We need to make sure that we go progressively and slowly and gradually on any re-opening, keeping at top of mind the importance of keeping people safe and healthy.”
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union has asked for added protection for food processing workers to help ensure their health and safety during these times.
The Prime Minister meantime announced additional support for businesses Monday by providing bridge financing to the country’s largest employers to keep operations going during the pandemic.
“Let me be clear, these are bridge loans, not bailouts. We’ll provide loans to help them weather the storm & protect millions of jobs they provide across Canada.”
The government is also giving low-income seniors financial assistance by topping up Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement payments by up to $500.
Canada ‘s latest numbers show 70,342 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the country, with total deaths surpassing 5,000 as of Tuesday.
(Cover photo: An employee wearing a protective mask takes off his gloves as he leaves Cargill Ltd., a meat-packing facility near Montreal, amid the coronavirus outbreak, in Chambly, Quebec. Reuters/Christinne Muschi)