The Elko sawmill is part of the province-wide Canfor sawmill shutdowns. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Canfor adds Christmas closure to B.C. forestry curtailments

More Vancouver Island loggers laid off in industry downturn

As B.C. politicians argued in the legislature about the ongoing job losses in the forest industry Monday, Canfor Corp. announced its latest province-wide shutdown of sawmill operations from Christmas to after New Year’s Day.

The shutdown is expected to remove 58 million board feet of production, in addition to previously announced curtailments this year, said Stephen Mackie, Canfor’s senior vice president for Canadian operations.

“We deeply regret that our employees have been impacted by multiple curtailments in 2019,” Mackie said in a statement Monday afternoon. “We know it has been a difficult year for our employees, contractors, their families and local communities.”

All B.C. sawmills will be down from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3, except for the Wynwood specialty mill in the Central Kootenay region, which will close for five days, Mackie said.

The announcement came as Forests Minister Doug Donaldson was being questioned in the legislature about Mosaic Forest Management’s shutdown of contract logging on Vancouver Island, which took effect Monday. Mosaic began its annual winter shutdown early.

RELATED: Mosaic Forest announces indefinite logging shutdown

RELATED: B.C. Interior communities rocked by sawmill closures

“The temporary curtailment impacts contractors, both union and non-union workers – approximately 2,000 people – across the coast,” Mosaic spokesperson Pam Agnew said, citing “very challenging pricing and market conditions.”

Mosaic, a partnership of Island Timberlands and Timberwest formed in 2018, adds its curtailment to the five-month strike at Western Forest Products operations on Vancouver Island, which has idled many more logging contractors.

In the B.C. Interior, Tolko Industries announced that its Soda Creek sawmill in the Cariboo is going from four days a week down to three. That adds to a wave of curtailments and closures across the B.C. Interior, due to a combination of low lumber prices, high log costs and a reduction in allowable cut from Crown timber in the wake of beetle infestations.

Since the beginning of November, Tolko has announced the permanent closure of its Kelowna sawmill, and two-week closures at its Armstrong, Heffley Creek, Lake Country, Lavington and White Valley divisions, and its Armstrong plywood plant.

“I’m not sure how much more communities like Williams Lake can take,” said Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett, calling on the NDP government to increase assistance for laid-off workers.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Parade of welcome and love in Prince Rupert

Friends welcome new baby in drive by visit

Wage Subsidy up to 75 per cent announced

Businesses who have had a 30 per cent decrease can apply

UPDATE: Man drowns crossing Skeena River

59-year old Prince Rupert victim pronounced dead at Mills Memorial

Reports of gunshots

No shooting according to RCMP

Better COVID-19 testing results needed in the north

Former senior Northern Health official also wants work camps shut down

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Canadian ferry operators call for inclusion in COVID-19 travel restrictions

Domestic travel restrictions should include ferries, operators say

Most Read