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

RCMP seek public’s help in identifying suspects responsible for keying cars in Castlegar

At least three cars have been keyed in north Castlegar in the last 24 hours

Young farmers find a home through land-matching program

Young Agrarians links would-be farmers with landowners who have land to spare

Morning start: A history of the Arrow Lakes

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Wednesday, May 27

Castlegar residents can now report minor crimes to RCMP online

New reporting tool available for Castlegar, Robson, Ootischenia, Thrums, Deer Park, Glade, Tarrys

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

Most Read