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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Plans for pot shop in Sidney spark back to life

Changing provincial regulations could clear the way for Sidney’s first ever pot shop

Langford residents concerns rise over proposal for two 11-storey buildings

Group calls for more green space, independent traffic feasiblity study

Falling oak tree causes minor damage to Langford home

Tree damages garden and gutters of home on Lindsay Place

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Most Read