On the Street: Canada Bread Closing Three Facilities

January 13/Toronto/The Toronto Star -- The hulking Canada Bread bakery in Toronto's Liberty Village is one of three aging plants in the Greater Toronto Area the national bread maker says it plans to close by 2013 to make way for a more modern facility somewhere in southwestern Ontario.

The company, whose main brand is Dempster's bread, announced the plan to invest $100 million in a new state-of-the-art bakery that would be the largest of its kind in Canada.

Negotiations with various municipalities would begin this week for a suitable location for the 370,000-square-foot facility, company spokeswoman Jeanette Jones said.

The decision will affect 435 employees, the company said. They will be given an opportunity to consider jobs at the new plant, which will employ 300 people, or in the remaining 13 facilities in Toronto operated by Canada Bread or its parent, Maple Leaf Foods Inc.

Canada Bread said it expects the cost of restructuring its business to amount to $25 million, including decommissioning and severance, over the three-year period.

"For anyone who is not looking to make the move, we will ensure they're treated fairly and respectfully and obviously with severance and benefits protection in excess of the provincial and employment standards," Jones added.

"This new bakery facility will be the largest in Canada and ... significantly improve efficiencies in our manufacturing and supply chain," said Richard Lan, president and chief executive of Canada Bread.

The company expects to choose a location by the end of March, begin construction six months later and have the first production line up and running 12 months after that.

The three existing plants would be closed over two years, with the first shuttered in late-2011 and the last in early 2013.  

From the January 18, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition