Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 28

COVER STORY

health, suicide prevention, domestic violence,
and addiction services, " Brannan said. " This
was particularly important during COVID19 as existing personal struggles seem to be
amplified with pandemic-related stressors. "

CANADIAN CARE

Maple Leaf Foods revisited
and enhanced its mental
health benefits program
after the onset of COVID-19.

MEAT+ POULTRY | 01.21 | www.meatpoultry.com

Maple Leaf Foods

28

" We may be listening to concerns of one of
our housekeeping professionals in one moment
and then discussing the morale of an entire
team with a manager or executive leader in the
next, " she said.
The company also acknowledges and
supports the message and efforts of World
Mental Health Day each year. By doing so,
companies like Tyson are supporting efforts
to remove the stigma of talking about mental
health by encouraging open dialogue about it
in the workplace. In the wake of the pandemic,
this year's Mental Health Day was especially
relevant for many more people.
" One of the ways chaplaincy addressed
2020's World Mental Health Day at my location
was to provide team members with a list of
helplines for resources related to mental

Peter Neufeld's role as vice president of
leadership with Toronto-based Maple Leaf
Foods Inc. involves wearing many hats.
With a master's degree in counseling and a
background as a therapist, Neufeld joined
the company about three years ago and
was approached by Michael McCain, chief
executive officer, about developing programs
and identifying resources to meet the mental
health needs of Maple Leaf's employees.
Neufeld spent the next year developing a
strategy to meet the goal of making Maple
Leaf a more psychologically healthy and safe
place to work. Part of that effort included
forming focus groups within the company to
establish benchmarks of current perceptions
and needs of employees, from the corporate
level to those in the production and processing
facilities. Part of the process also included
partnering with Canada's Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health (CAMH), a hospital
specializing in treating people with mental
health and addiction problems where McCain
serves as a board member. Neufeld recalled
McCain insisted the program not be referred
to as a strategy.
" He [McCain] said, 'Stop calling it a strategy;
it's an initiative.' He said, 'this is not a business,
this is an initiative to help people,' and I think
that was a really good call, " Neufeld said.
Through its focus-group-based
benchmarking, Maple Leaf discovered that
there was a need to allocate more funds
per employee specifically for professional
counseling. As part of the first phase of the
company's mental health initiative, which
launched in January 2020, it increased the
counseling allocation from $300 per year to
$1,500. While committing $300 per year, per
employee might seem ample, Neufeld pointed
out that it was a drop in the bucket of what
meaningful counseling costs today.
" When somebody has a psychological
episode, they can take 10 to 14 treatments to
be able to work through it and get to the point
of health that they had previously, " he said,


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Meat+Poultry - January 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - January 2021

Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 1
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Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - vdg - 1
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Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - marel - 1
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