UPDATED: Celgar announces approximately 85 layoffs

Reduction will affect both hourly and salaried employees.

Zelstoff Celgar near Castlegar

Scroll down to see information released earlier Tuesday, July 9 about the job losses.


Update as of 5:20 p.m.July 9

Kevin Anderson, managing director of operations and technical at Celgar, has spoken with the Castlegar News about the unfolding situation regarding layoffs at the Celgar pulp mill.

“It’s an unfortunate reality for some people here,” said Anderson. “Though we are doing our best to minimize the impact to employees. One of the key things is that we’re looking to offer, as much as possible, voluntary alternatives for senior employees to depart and lessen the impact to some of our junior employees.

“There are some unknowns, in particular with those covered under the collective agreement. We know the number of positions but it’s difficult to know the employees that are going to go because there is quite a process in the collective agreement around seniority that we need to work though.”

Anderson added the company is doing its best to be “as fair and generous” with the retirement incentives as possible and that once it’s better known who will take the voluntary options it will be easier to ascertain who will be leaving on an involuntary basis.

A call to Mike Conci, president of Local 1 – Pulp, Paper Woodworkers of Canada in Castlegar was not responded to by press deadline. Look for more in the Castlegar News on Thursday and on our Twitter and Facebook pages.


Mercer International Inc. announced today a workforce reduction is expected to involve approximately 85 employees over the next five years, with the majority of employees to be affected over the next 12 months.

The company said after conducting a comprehensive assessment, the reduction is intended to improve its competitiveness with other pulp producers.

The planned reduction will affect both hourly and salaried employees.

“It is essential for the long term viability and sustainability of the Celgar mill that it maintains a competitive cost structure compared to other producers in the face of ever increasing costs and other challenges, said Mercer’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Jimmy Lee in a release.”A competitive cost structure is also essential to attract the necessary investment capital required to continue to modernize the mill and participate in growing bio-economy opportunities.”

The release notes Celgar will take appropriate measures to assist employees affected by the cuts in accordance with applicable agreements, policies and legislation and offer early retirement incentives for senior employees.

The Celgar mill will continue to operate with an annual capacity of approximately 520,000 air-dried metric tons of market northern bleached softwood kraft pulp and plans to employ approximately 370 employees when the workforce reduction is completed at the end of 2017.

Since purchasing the mill in 2005, Mercer has allocated approximately $140 million in capital improvements to the Celgar mill. Approximately $60 million of this total was funded from subsidies received from Federal programs aimed at improving the global competitiveness of the Canadian pulp industry.

As the main economic engine for Castlegar and one of the largest employers in the West Kootenay region, Celgar has been providing high-paying, family-supporting jobs for over 50 years.

In 2012, Celgar contributed $52 million to the local economy in wages and benefits.


Just Posted

Choir leader’s selfless work wins her Castlegar Citizen of the Year

Christina Nolan has grown the community choir into a strong and vibrant asset for the city

Water main maintenance ongoing in South Castlegar and Blueberry

Project will take two weeks — city says there should not be any service disruptions

Downtown businesses want you to love them this weekend

Third annual event encourages people to shop in their own community.

Police investigating man’s death in Winlaw

Foul play not established, but major crimes unit is investigating

Grand Forks woman assaulted in home invasion

The incident took place Wednesday morning

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Most Read