Wrigley Canada has announced plans to close its Toronto manufacturing plant in March 2016.
The closure is the result of the company reorganizing its supply chain to account for a decline in chewing gum sales, and the move will eliminate 383 jobs, the company says.
"Today we regret having to announce a tough decision that impacts a number of our great Canadian associates," says Wrigley. "Despite recent improvements in the gum category and increased productivity in our supply chain network, it has not been enough to offset declines in the gum category over recent years."
The company plans to move production to its Gainesville, Ga. facility. This move accounts for the fact that 80 percent of the Toronto facility's volume was produced for the U.S. marketplace. And, Wrigley says its long-term needs will be met by its two facilities in the U.S.
In a company statement, Wrigley also thanked its 383 affected employees for their service.
"We will offer a lengthy period of working notice, favorable severance packages, career transition support, reasonable paid time off to attend job interviews and counseling," says Wrigley.
Mars, owner of Wrigley, will continue to employ 1,200 associates in sales, marketing and manufacturing in Canada.
"We will continue to operate a Wrigley Canada head office and invest in our Canadian business, including Excel, Canada’s number one gum brand," Wrigley says.
The Toronto Sun reports that "Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid said his government has already been in touch with the company to offer employment and training assistance to workers losing their jobs."
The Toronto Sun quotes Duguid, who said in a statement, “I was saddened to learn that due to decreased North American gum consumption, Mars Inc. will be closing their Toronto Wrigley gum production facility. Mars Inc. has assured us that they remain committed to their other Ontario business operations, including their production facilities in Bolton, Guelph and Newmarket.”