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
[email protected]

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

MISSING TEEN: Williams Lake RCMP ask public’s help in finding Angel Emile

Emile was last seen on Windmill Crescent in Williams Lake Jan. 16

B.C. Indigenous communities receive funding for hands-on trades training

Nuxalk, Witset, Penticton Indian Band, TRU Williams Lake, and Camosun College among beneficiaries

Nuxalk College undertakes language digitization project

New tapes from over 50 years ago are set to be digitally transcribed

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

Bella Coola under another winter storm warning

Freezing rain is expected by this afternoon

VIDEO: WHO says China virus not global health emergency

The decision came after Chinese authorities moved to lock down three cities on Thursday

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

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

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

B.C. still struggling to control non-resident medical care fraud

Unpaid bills, out-of-province claimants a costly legacy of MSP

Father to B.C.’s first MLB hall-of-famer is one proud dad

Larry Walker Sr. talks baseball background and son’s base running gaffe

Most Read