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Canada: Layoffs expected at Cavendish Farms because of coronavirus

Potato processor Cavendish Farms hasn’t laid off any staff yet because of the coronavirus (COVID-19), but a spokeswoman for the company says short-term layoffs are expected.

Spokeswoman Mary Keith said in an email that the company is doing everything it can to minimize the impact on employees at its New Annan plants on Prince Edward Island, including shifting production, shuffling resources, looking for volunteers who want time off, using vacation time and reducing overtime.

Keith said Cavendish Farms has reduced production with no layoffs so far but expects there will be some in the short term.

Cavendish Farms employs about 700 people at its facilities in New Annan and is one of the largest employers in the province.

While production continues, Cavendish Farms has listed on its website health and safety measures it has implemented to deal with the coronavirus, including providing up to three paid emergency leave days for employees and pay continuation for self-isolation.

Keith said the company’s forecasts are showing a steep decline in foodservice and fast food sales because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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