Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests, and Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs Economic Development and Innovation, have released the following statement in response to Canfor’s announcement to restructure its BC operations:
“Today’s announcement is incredibly difficult for the workers, their families and the communities they live in. Our government is committed to supporting forestry workers impacted by closures and also to support good, long-term jobs in the sector.
“Our immediate priority is to support the workers and families impacted by the closure of the Chetwynd sawmill and pellet mill, and the temporary closure of the Houston mill. Community support teams have been activated and will be there to connect workers with the services they need.
“Forestry is and will remain a foundation of the B.C. economy. Our government has made recent investments as part of our ongoing work and commitment to ensure that forestry remains a strong and sustainable industry in British Columbia.
“We welcome Canfor’s plans to build a modern, globally competitive manufacturing facility in Houston, ensuring good forestry jobs remain in the region, and aligning with our government’s goal to produce higher-value products from the available sustainable timber supply.
“The Annual Allowable Cut has declined due to the end of the beetle kill harvest and unprecedented wildfires around the province. In the Houston area, the annual harvest has declined by more than 25% compared to 2008 during the height of the beetle epidemic.
“In the last week, government announced the $90-million BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund that will promote value-added innovation in the forestry sector, $50 million in funding to increase fibre supply, and we launched a new program to provide dedicated access of timber to valued-added manufacturers.
“British Columbians expect that we get the most value from our forests while building a stronger, more resilient forestry sector that works that better shares the benefits with local communities and workers.”