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Press release from CNW Group

City of Kitchener and Maple Leaf Foods Joint Task Force Holds First Meeting

Thursday, December 22, 2011

City of Kitchener and Maple Leaf Foods Joint Task Force Holds First Meeting16:00 EST Thursday, December 22, 2011TORONTO, Dec. 22, 2011 /CNW/ - A joint task force between the City of Kitchener and Maple Leaf Foods -- comprised of two members from Maple Leaf Foods, two from the city and the local ward councillor - held its first meeting on December 20, 2011."This meeting was very productive in terms of the mutual cooperation and interest shown by all task force members in finding positive solutions to all the issues," said Jeff Willmer, Deputy CAO, Community Services Department, City of Kitchener and task force co-chair.Established in November, the joint task force's goals are to assist local Maple Leaf Foods employees facing job loss, developing strategies to minimize the impact of the closure on the local economy and also focus on the reuse or redevelopment of the 25-acre property.To accomplish its goals, the task force has divided its work into two subcommittees - the employment advisory team and the property team. The task force's role is to provide oversight, guidance, evaluation, and decision in regard to recommendations made to the employment advisory and property teams.At its next meeting in the January/February timeframe, the task force will focus on land and property. The purpose of this meeting will be to share existing information regarding property specifications, opportunities for new business activities and employment creation at the site, potential urban redevelopment options, regional infrastructure planning and other topics. Following this meeting, the property team will be established.The employment advisory team will meet in the February/March timeframe. This meeting will focus on information sharing regarding employee demographics, status of closure agreement and skills/retraining needs, among other topics."We are looking forward to a coordinated approach to both the employment initiative as well as finding good uses for our property," said Rory McAlpine, Vice-President, Government and Industry Relations and task force co-chair. "While the closure is two years away, it's important we keep working together to achieve our common goals."Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading food processing company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada. The Company employs approximately 21,000 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Asia. The Company had sales of $5.0 billion in 2010.For further information: Andrea Bailey Interim Manager of Communications and Marketing Communications & Customer Service City of Kitchener (519) 741-2458andrea.bailey@kitchener.ca Maple Leaf Foods Media hotline: 416-926-2020