CNIB to Wind Down its Catering Business in Atlantic Canada



    Desire to focus on core business drives necessary closures

    ST. JOHN'S, Oct. 16 /CNW/ - After meeting with employees and notifying
partners earlier today, CNIB today announced its intention to wind down
Caterplan, its food service division that operates cafeterias and catering
facilities in all four Atlantic Provinces.
    The company was created in 1928 to generate revenue for CNIB programs and
as a means of employment for people living with vision loss. The business is
not generating sufficient revenue to support CNIB services and programs, and
the Atlantic cafeterias are the last in Canada to close.
    Currently Caterplan operates 34 units employing 104 people in Atlantic
Canada including 14 employees who are living with vision loss.
    "It is our renewed focus on our core business of providing services,
support and advocacy for Canadians living with vision loss that has made this
closure necessary for CNIB - and the people we serve - moving forward," said
Len Baker, CNIB's Managing Director, Services and Operations for Eastern
Canada.
    Baker cited the following factors as driving the need for CNIB to leave
the catering business and re-focus on providing vision rehabilitation
services, public education, research and advocacy:

    
    1.  While created to provide employment opportunities for people living
        with vision loss, Caterplan is no longer a significant means of
        employment for them

    2.  Catering is not relevant to CNIB's core business and is consuming
        much time and effort that will now be directed to meeting the growing
        needs of people living with vision loss

    3.  The company is not producing sustainable or consistent revenues to
        ensure the stability of CNIB's support service and other core
        programs. Less than 10 per cent of CNIB's revenue in Atlantic Canada
        comes from Caterplan

    4.  It is also increasingly difficult to hire and retain adequately
        skilled and qualified employees, and when employees do leave it can
        become exceedingly difficult to meet our contractual obligations to
        our customers
    

    "CNIB has assessed this situation from a variety of perspectives and has
decided to leave the catering industry in a manner that is responsible,
disciplined and respectful of our obligations to our Caterplan employees,
partners and suppliers, and our ongoing obligations to our primary focus -
Canadians living with vision loss," said Baker.
    Baker outlined a business wind-down plan designed to minimize disruption
for Caterplan employees, partners and suppliers.
    "Our plan aims to keep staff employed as long as possible to support
their transition from Caterplan's employ, to support customer transitions from
Caterplan's service, and to recover costs from Caterplan inventories before
facility closures," he added.
    "At this time I acknowledge and thank our Caterplan employees for their
dedication, commitment and professionalism, and I thank our Caterplan
customers and suppliers for their partnership and loyalty over the years,"
said Baker.

    About CNIB

    CNIB is a nationwide, community-based, registered charity committed to
public education, research and the vision health of all Canadians. CNIB
provides the services and support necessary to enjoy a good quality of life
while living with vision loss. To find out more, visit www.cnib.ca or call
1-800-563-2642.





For further information:

For further information: Lisa Pretty, Communications Director - CNIB,
1-800-563-2642, lisa.pretty@cnib.ca


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