Weston Foods bakery closing in Kingston

The Weston Foods plant on Railway Street. Photo by Cris Vilela.

Employees at the Weston Bakeries plant on Railway Street were met with some unpleasant news today as managers at the plant announced the facility will be closing.

At approximately 3 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, the employees were told of the coming closure by management. The exact timing of the closure remains unclear at this time. The company says that up to 35 employees will be affected by the closure.

The announcement comes just over two months after approximately 30 employees at the location were laid off after Weston Foods decided to eliminate one of the two production lines at the facility, which produces baked goods for companies like Country Harvest and Wonder. The company also announced this month that its plant in Cobourg was also set to be closed.

“Weston Foods has made the difficult decision to close its Kingston bread and roll bakery in Q2 2020. Production from this facility will be relocated to other bakeries in the Weston Foods network. Regrettably, up to 35 jobs will be lost,” Weston Foods said in a statement.

“The adjoining warehouse will remain open, employing approximately 12 people, acting as an important waystation in our transportation and logistics system for Eastern Ontario.”

The company spoke to the earlier lay-offs and what has occurred since then.

“In November 2019, due to a decrease in customer demand, Weston Foods reduced the operation at the Kingston bakery from two lines to one. Since then, we have fully assessed the impact of that change across the bakery network, resulting in the decision to close the bakery permanently,” the statement continues.

“Closing a bakery is one of the toughest decisions we ever face. We deeply regret the personal impact the closure will have on our Kingston employees and are committed to providing extensive support and resources to those affected. These changes equate to a decrease of less than 1 per cent in our total workforce.

“Earlier in January, the company also announced that our cake bakery in Cobourg will be closing mid-2020, due to changes in customer demand. Ontario continues to be a very important market in the Weston Foods network,” the statement reads, noting that Weston Foods has five offices in the Greater Toronto Area, including its head office, as well as 12 thriving bakeries, distribution centres and warehouses across the province, employing in total more than 2,200 employees.

“As we move through the transition, our top priorities are the wellbeing of our employees, meeting our compliance standards, and continuing to deliver top quality products seamlessly to our customers.”

The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 403 could not be immediately reached for comment.

Kingstonist will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as more information becomes available.

Editor’s note: a previous version of this story stated that the earlier layoffs in 2019 affected approximately 40 plant employees. Weston Foods has clarified that the actual number was approximately 30 employees.

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