I wanted to review the situation with you during this quite difficult time. We take this work very seriously. Despite the exceptional circumstances surrounding COVID-19, Les Producteurs de lait du Québec continues to provide its services, both regionally and at its headquarters. Employees are working remotely to limit contact, but you can still reach them in the usual ways. For regions where the telephone numbers have changed, the information has been placed on the producers’ extranet. As concerns our Annual General Meeting, it will be moved to a later date. Our General Manager Alain Bourbeau has written a note about this issue that you will also find on the extranet.
Nous devons tous prendre nos responsabilités pour freiner la propagation de la COVID-19. La santé de nos travailleurs est primordiale pour assurer la production, la transformation et l’approvisionnement de la population en produits laitiers. Nous ne savons pas combien de temps la crise va durer. Je compte sur vous pour respecter les directives et pour vous entraider en cette période difficile. C’est ensemble que nous allons passer au travers.
In terms of the supply chain, I am proud to see that all the actors in our industry are working together to keep operations going. We are in constant contact with our partners in the transportation and processing sectors. We have the same concerns about sound risk management for our employees. Special precautions have been taken and contingency plans have been made. By helping and working with each other, we can continue to feed Quebecers during this crisis.
At his press conference on March 19, Quebec Premier François Legault mentioned the key role of farmers and food industry workers. Society needs us to ensure food security for our citizens. And we take this work very seriously. We are also in constant contact with government authorities to make sure that they are promptly taking the measures that need to be taken to help us keep the supply chain in operation!
Beyond the industry, I am counting on each and every producer to observe on-farm hygiene and biosecurity measures. They are more important than ever. We can never say it enough: Avoid touching your face, wash your hands, and clean any frequently touched surfaces on a regular basis. These are already current practices on farms. We just need to pay more attention to them than usual.
Until the government tells us otherwise, we recommend that you avoid all unnecessary meetings. Use the telephone or digital communications as much as possible. Keep your distance during all necessary visits, such as milk pickups.
If you have symptoms or doubts about your situation, we have published a guide with suggested actions as well as a document with answers to a number of questions on this subject. Keep an eye on the “Your enterprise” section of the extranet for all reference documents. We continue to monitor the crisis hour by hour and will keep you informed of any developments.
We must all act responsibly to stop the spread of COVID-19. Our workers must stay healthy if we are to ensure that dairy products are produced, processed and supplied to the population. We do not know how long the crisis will last. I am counting on you to follow the directives and help each other out at this difficult time. Together, we will get through this.
Bruno Letendre, Chair of Les Producteurs de lait du Québec
March 22, 2020