VANDERHOOF (September 10, 2019) – Workers in the forest industry were hit again today as West Fraser announced more curtailments at five of its sawmills and two plywood operations. More bad news also came with Teal-Jones’ notification that all harvesting operations on the B.C. coast will be shut down effective immediately.
“How bad does this situation have to get before the government finally takes action on behalf of forest workers in this province?” asks BC Liberal Forestry Critic and Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad. “John Horgan’s policies – such as the requirement on the coast to remove more waste fibre – are killing the industry and resulting in more lay-offs and closures.”
In its announcement, Teal-Jones identified high stumpage rates and the impact of new regulations to harvest more residual waste fibre as part of its decision. According to a news release issued by the company: “These negative factors have made it impossible for the company to continue operating forest licenses economically.”
“Forestry jobs are being driven to the United States by this NDP government and every day that goes by without real action from government puts any chance of recovery at risk,” Rustad adds. “West Fraser’s announcement is going to have hugely negative impacts on communities across B.C., including towns in my riding like Houston that have already been hit by curtailments implemented by Canfor.”
“Yesterday’s announcement by West Fraser will have a devastating effect throughout the Cariboo, which has already been hit hard by previous closures,” says Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA and Rural Development Critic Donna Barnett. “Workers are facing an uncertain future and government is not working on their side.”
Rustad pointed to the BC Liberal 5-Point Action Plan on the Forestry Crisis to reduce stumpage fees and provide direct assistance to forestry workers and contractors.