Canada Bread to shut B.C. bakery, expand at Edmonton

Maple Leaf Foods’ baked goods arm plans to shut a fresh bakery facility in the Vancouver area by the end of November and expand the Edmonton site that will pick up its tortilla business.

Canada Bread said in a release Tuesday it will close the plant at Delta, B.C. by Nov. 30. The bakery makes pantry breads, rolls, buns and tortillas, mainly for retailers in Western Canada.

The Delta plant’s production will then shift to Canada Bread’s bakery at nearby Langley and also to Edmonton, where the Canada Bread plant will see $11 million in expansion work “to support increased tortilla production.”

Operations at Delta are to wind down starting in mid-August, eventually putting about 155 employees out of work by December.

“These network changes support our focus on both cost reduction and future growth, by increasing our capacity utilization and expanding our production in the high-growth tortilla category,” Barry McLean, president of Canada Bread’s fresh bakery division, said in the company’s release.

Affected workers will get severance, counselling and ongoing outplacement services and will also be encouraged to seek employment at “other company facilities.”

In B.C., those include a Maple Leaf plant at Delta making Olivieri-brand fresh and frozen pastas and sauces, a prepared meats distribution centre at Coquitlam and the Canada Bread bakery at Langley. Maple Leaf last month announced it will close its deli meats plant at nearby Surrey by the end of September, affecting another 165 staff.

Canada Bread said it will book about $4.8 million in before-tax costs in fiscal 2011 related to the Delta closure, including severance, decommissioning and asset write-downs, $3.1 million of which will be in cash expenses.

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