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.

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

Just Posted

Maple Ridge concert to feature “pop” music of the Middle Ages to the Renaissance

Candlelight Concert Series takes place at Westacres in Maple Ridge

Meadowridge students unleash their robotic talents

FIRST LEGO League competition took place at Meadowridge School

Pitt Meadows ball hockey goalie gets call up to Team Canada

Matteo Petrelli will mind net for U20 team at world championships in Switzerland this summer

Maple Ridge’s Brandon Yip to play in KHL all star game in Moscow Sunday morning

Yip currently captains the Kunlun Red Stars who are based in Beijing

The value of a prison education

Kevin Heinze teaches continuing education at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge.

How to beat Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year

Multiple factors can play a role in seasonal depression, says Fraser Health psychiatrist

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in lingerie store

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

Vancouver police probe second homicide in less than 24 hours

Woman was found dead in her Gastown home

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Vancouver police investigate after man found dead in vehicle

Man has not been identified and no one has been arrested

Most Read