Maple Leaf Foods plans to invest CA$660 million (US$497 million) to build a new, 640,000-sqare-foot value-added fresh poultry facility in London, Ontario.

The company expects this new facility to be one of the most technologically advanced poultry-processing plants in the world. It will initially employ 1,450 full and part time employees to meet the growing demand for premium poultry products.

"This world-class facility will enable Maple Leaf to meet the steadily growing consumer demand for premium, value-added poultry products, and strengthen Canada's food system," said Michael H. McCain, president and CEO, Maple Leaf Foods.

Construction on the 100-acre site will begin in spring 2019, and is projected to be completed by 2021.

"As the largest addition to our food processing sector in the last 20 years, Maple Leaf Foods will bring significant employment and long-term economic benefits to the entire Southwest region," said Kapil Lakhotia, president and CEO, London Economic Development Corporation.

The London Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) and City of London officials have been working extensively with Maple Leaf Foods to secure this $660 million capital investment. The LEDC is working with Fanshawe College, Brescia University College, and other training institutions to develop skilled talent for food and beverage processing, as well as quality assurance, nutritional sciences, product development, and food chemistry.

"I would like to welcome Maple Leaf Foods to London," said Mayor Matt Brown. "London's commitment to world-class infrastructure and a robust industrial land strategy put London in a competitive position to attract an investment of this magnitude."

London, according to a press release from LEDC,  is recognized as a provincially significant food and beverage processing hub, with more than 60 companies employing over 7,000 people at leading businesses including Labatt, McCormick, Dr. Oetker, Natra, Cargill, The Original Cakerie, Sikorski Sausages, and Nestlé, as well as several start-up food and beverage companies.

Through the city's industrial lands development strategy, a new greenfield site near Highbury Avenue and Wilton Grove Road provided ideal infrastructure for Maple Leaf Foods in order to secure this facility.