Canfor temporarily shutting down lumber mills across B.C.

Low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre are the cause of curtailment, according to the company

Canfor has announced it will be temporarily closing down operations at almost all of its B.C. dimension mills.

The company said in a news release Wednesday, it will be shutting down operations for one week starting April 29. WynnWood mill outside of Creston will be the only facility of 13 to remain open.

Canfor cited low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre for the cause in having to curtail operations, which will impact 2,000 hourly employees.

“We regret the impact the curtailments will have on our employees, their families and their communities. We appreciate the hard work of our employees and contractors across all our operations,” said Michelle Ward, director of corporate communications.

She said two other mills in Mackenzie and Isle Pierre will be down for a second week in May.

This is the fourth curtailment that has been announced by Canfor since November of last year.

READ MORE: Canfor curtailing sawmill operations in B.C.

READ MORE: Canfor adds to mill curtailments with brief B.C. Interior shutdowns

Local 1-2017 President Brian O’Rourke said the union doesn’t feel good about the news.

“We heard today that they are going to be curtailing all their operations in B.C. and they are citing low lumber prices and high logging costs. They will be curtailing for one week,” he said.

He added that previous curtailments by Canfor in December were all due to fibre and lumber costs, as well. However, the union has no control over temporary shutdowns.

“We are hoping it will only be short term, a one week thing, and hopefully things will pick up and run as they did normally,” O’Rourke said.

Meanwhile, UNBC economist Dr. Paul Bowles said the scale of the shutdown is unexpected, however, there were signs that something along these lines would continue to happen.

“The price of lumber has fallen by 40 per cent from a year ago, so with weakening demand, big companies are worried about how many losses they are able to sustain in the short run,” he said.

Bowles explained that the point of the curtailment is to bring companies back into profitability by getting the price to go up and taking out some supply from the market.

“Which would eventually be felt by consumers as well,” he said.

“It is going to mean that workers, their income is going to be reduced and interrupted because of this. So that is going to have an impact on the provincial economy but especially in those communities such as Vanderhoof, that are heavily reliant on the lumber industry. It is going to mean less demand there and less activity in the services in the community,” Bowles added.

Dr. Kathy Lewis, Chair of Ecosystem Science and Management and a forestry professor at UNBC, said she doesn’t find the curtailment surprising.

“We have known for quite a long time that there was going to be a short fall in timber supply, so this was no surprise at all. But it is a short, middle-term problem,” she said.

Lewis said in the long run, the industry is going to be strong.

“In fact the industry itself is working to change what they are doing to make better use of wood that is available. So I think the long term prognosis is pretty good, but there will be some short-term problems,” she added.

In terms of timber supply, Lewis said forests are a renewable resource which leads to a fairly good picture for the industry in the long term. However, if various disturbances are added to climate change, it brings more elements of uncertainty.

“So there will always be uncertainty around timber supply and so the industry has to adapt to that and they have been,” Lewis added.

“We have major mills that have been making dimensional lumber, but they are also engaged in making other products from the forest such as pellets and chemicals and different kinds of solid wood products and so on, that allow them to make more of the trees that they cut,” she said.

Canfor Corporation has 13 sawmills in Canada with the total annual capacity of approximately 3.8 billion board fleet.

With files from Blair McBride


Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Pregnant Kootenay teachers fight to change compensation rules

Risk to unborn babies not recognized by WorkSafeBC

Family on way to a wedding when girl, 4, killed in crash near Creston

The Alberta family was travelling through B.C. for a wedding when their RV was in a serious collision

RCMP: 18 impaired drivers caught in days after Shambhala

Police also found 272 other violations on Monday and Tuesday

De Groot family still waiting for inquest after 2014 Slocan shooting

Lawyer for Peter De Groot’s family say many questions remain unanswered

Young Agrarians bring farm tour to Creston

The Young Agrarians, a grassroots network for new and young ecological farmers,… Continue reading

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Most Read