(Dec. 22, 1:54 p.m.) One of the largest mushroom growers in North America is restructuring its operations under the protection of Canada’s Companies’ Creditors Agreement Act.

Blenheim, Ontario-based Rol-land Farms has received protection from its creditors under the CCCA under an order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Dec. 10.

Essex Kent Mushrooms Ltd., Kingsville, Ontario, is a division of Rol-land Farms.

The court allowed Rol-land Farms time to restructure its business and affairs, with Pricewaterhouse Coopers Inc. as the court-appointed monitor, according to a news release from the firm.

The firm, supplying about one million pounds of mushrooms a week to retailers in Canada and the U.S., continues production in Ontario, Alberta and Prince Edward Island, the news release said. Rol-land Farms is the largest mushroom producer in Canada and is the third-largest mushroom producer in North America, the release said.

“This is not a bankruptcy proceeding, it is outside of the bankruptcy procedure,” said Joe Speranzini, partner at the Hamilton, Ontario-based Scarfone Hawkins LLP. The law firm is representing Rol-land Farms.

The court protection is similar in some respects to bankruptcy, and may allow the company to emerge from court protection by April, Speranzini said.

He said Rol-land Farms encountered some performance issues, in addition to a stronger Canadian dollar and heightened sensitivity of banks.

Rol-land Farms may consider selling its Alberta operations, which Speranzini described as a minor part of the company.

“The company intends to come out of this procedure as a profitable company,” he said.

A proposal to creditors that may involve compromising Rol-Land Farms indebtedness is also possible, he said.