The Brockville Recorder & Times
Deanna Clark, Staff Writer
Burnbrae Farms, Ross Laboratories and many other food processingcompanies are to benefit from a new networking initiative worthclose to $2 million.
Provincial funding of $1,939,600 was announced Monday atBurnbrae's Central Avenue egg-processing facility byNorthumberland-Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi, the parliamentaryassistant to Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister LeonaDombrowsky.
"What it means is there will be a wider selection ofopportunities to improve our best practices," said Ian McFall,general manager of Burnbrae's Brockville plant, where boiled eggs,specialty omelettes and other egg products are prepared andpackaged.
"Itmakes us stronger and it saves us money," McFall said when asked toexplain how the network will benefit the local egg company andother eastern Ontario food processing firms.
"It will strengthen our ability to improve safety programs andour ability to reduce costs in our system," McFall said.
This injection of cash from the province to the Excellence inManufacturing Consortium is to create a food sector manufacturinginnovation network. The goal is to improve global competitivenessby giving more than 200 food manufacturing and processing companiesadvanced skills training, internship opportunities, a peer-to-peersystem and an online network.
"We're making sure people have the tools to work with," saidRinaldi during the announcement. It will help companies retainworkers while improving competitiveness, he said.
"It's all about partners. By providing the industry with highlyskilled workers who have 24-7 access to online resources andnetworking, we anticipate a five per cent growth in exports,"Rinaldi said.
"This is the launch of the whole thing," said Al Diggins,president and general manager of the Excellence in ManufacturingConsortium, which will co-ordinate the network.
The announcement was welcomed by Brockville Mayor DavidHenderson and Dave Paul, director of the city's economicdevelopment department.
"It will help these plants have a fighting chance," saidHenderson. "I think it's going to be a strong thing for us all theway down the line."
"We are very well positioned," said Paul, noting there are290 food processing companies in eastern Ontario alone. "It'stimely and it's the right sector," said Paul.
The funding is through the Ontario government's Rural EconomicDevelopment Program.