Emergency processor funds distributed to 117 B.C. firms

Some 117 food processing companies in British Columbia have collectively received $17 million through the federal Emergency Processing fund established in May 2020.

Carla Qualtrough, MP for Delta and minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion, released details of the recipient companies and the amounts provided during a March 5 news conference.

Recipients used the funds to improve worker safety and keep their businesses afloat during the market fluctuations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qualtrough said there are more than 3,000 food-processing companies in B.C., which produce more than $9 billion worth of food annually.

Recipients of the funds ranged from meat packing operations to beverage companies, bakeries and fruit packing enterprises, she said.

Earth’s Own Food Company Inc., a Vancouver-based health food and beverage maker, received the largest amount at $2.64 million. Plant manager Jeremy Switzer said the money helped keep the business going and there are plans to increase operations and hire more staff.

“The program allowed us to respond in real time to the pandemic environment and the new reality,” he said.

Other recipients of more than $1 million included Rossdown Natural Foods of Abbotsford ($1.29 million); Johnston Packers of Chilliwack ($1.15 million); Big Mountain Foods of Vancouver ($1.12 million); and Nutri-Nation Functional Foods of Port Coquitlam ($1 million.)

Most of the recipient companies are based in the lower mainland, the hub of B.C.’s food processing sector.

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